Just So You Know
(The Vance Legacy begins in 1832 and Lillian is a slave. She is unable to read or write at this time. However, her diary is based on what she would have said if she had a diary and was able to read and write.)
When I woke this cold February morning, there was no reason to believe that this day would be any different than yesterday. It had been a month since they buried Big Bill and I still couldn’t shed a tear for the old man. No duty in the sick room made my day a little lighter and I was grateful. The fire had gone out overnight and the room was cold. Rebecca was curled up close to me, trying to get any warmth my body could spare. I slid out of bed and quickly and got a fire going. Then it was time to wake Bell and Denny to start the days cooking and other household chores.
The day had been as any other until we began preparing for the evening meal. That’s when all the commotion began. First, I heard Massa James give a loud yelp. Within minutes I heard their voices in the foyer and I knew Massa David had come home. I felt heat rise across my chest and up into my face. My hands and forehead became moist as sweat broke out across my brow. I quickly wiped at my face with the hem of my apron. I wanted to run right into his arms and knowing that I could not, was like stab in my heart. My next thought was to run to my quarters and hide where no one could see my anguish. Just then, I heard Massa James call my name. I stood where I was, frozen with heartache. Nothing had changed. It had been ten years and still the thought of seeing Massa David made me weak of will and spirit. I was afraid to look into his green eyes, afraid that I may crumble at his feet.
Again, Massa James called me and I had no choice but to walk into the foyer where the brothers stood. I kept my gaze on David’s face but, to my surprise, he never looked my way. It was as if he was refusing to make eye contact me. Maybe he too feared lighting that emotional spark that would set our hearts to burning once again. I smiled to myself, knowing that he will not be able to avoid me forever. Because he could not look at me, I knew he still loved me, he still wanted me, and he didn’t know how to refuse me.
I was not prepared to see the beautiful white woman that held tight to Massa David’s arm. She looked directly at me, her face holding an expression mixed with awe and surprise. Massa James called her David’s fiancé. So, this was the woman who he thought could replace me in his heart. I knew that she knew nothing of me. I also knew that from that moment on, we would be engaged in a struggle for the affections of the same man.