I sat underneath the deck of a boat, surrounded by people not even 5 inches away.
I stare at the rows of bodies. Some left us because of disease and others because of old age. Holding my breath is pointless, the acrid smell never goes away.
His groans grow so loud that I cover my ears and try to muffle the sounds with my own singing.
Last night I sang to myself until my body passed out from exhaustion.
I’ve got so accustomed to tears constantly wetting my face that it felt odd not to cry. I continue to cry because stopping would break the cycle and I would have no daily ritual to follow.
Some days I wonder why I’m kept down here. I am so young compared to the rest of us.
All of us are hidden like the white men’s dirty secret. When they feel the need to be entertained, the secret is divulged. They force us onto the deck, group by group, to dance- to entertain.
The winter air was only refreshing at first, but then I couldn’t stop shivering.
It was so cold that fingers hurt from frostbites. We were all humiliated while at our lowest points.
Our hope and dignity disappeared behind the crack of a whip. The red marks are everlasting mementos of our masters’ cruelty.
Revolting against these people made no solution because the ones who tried were thrown overboard or were executed. But someone had to save us from such a death. I knew for sure that it would only someone who’d endured this trauma would side with us but we’d lose anyway.
Was this only because of our race?
One morning, I looked at my skin and it disgusted me. They were the colour of dying moths, they were stained like dirt.
I was upset and maybe angry, not only because of my skin but also at my parents I don’t really know why though.
The fact that the white men controlled everything that I could think of.
If I weren’t black I wouldn’t be sitting here. I wouldn’t be sitting here sweating from the heat of others.
It disgusted me.
I was in pain. All of this was the cause for my pain.
I’m sure that I don’t deserve to be fed slop or to use a bucket for restroom. And I’m definitely sure that I don’t deserve to die at such a young age.
If I wasn’t black I wouldn’t have been separated from my parents. I wouldn’t be here feeling all afraid, lonely.
The loneliness makes me miss everyone even the people that I despised. I just want to feel safe. I miss my family and friends and I cannot bear to think that they are going through the same things I am right now.
They were all my security blanket. You all were my security blanket.
I wasn’t not sure I could take it any longer. I’ve had awful nightmares and I always wake up with sweat and tears dripping from my body. At least I had one good dream while I was here. I dreamt of Africa, and it was beautiful! I saw everyone again. I could no longer taste blood on my tongue, hear the screaming and groaning of insane elders, or reach out to touch a dead person’s cold and rigid skin on any side of my body. My life had gone right and I’d forgotten of these scarring memories.
Yet, I awoke that night to see an old man dying of a heart attack. His sparkling blue eyes turned grey as his spasms came to a cessation.
I did not know why I made myself endure this torture. My life would never be the same after living this way. I could not live a life wanting to kill myself. Maybe it was braver to undergo the suffering, but my body couldn’t take any more.
But all I knew was that one day, somewhere, I’d be free.
• THERE WAS BLACK INK IN MY BLOOD•