I didn’t sleep a wink that night. I sat up eyes wide open starring at Annabelle. I didn’t want her to leave me. She was all I had left in the world. My little gift from God. When they took Jim Paul away, he made me promise to protect her, and I almost feel like I let him down. The big house was no place for her. I didn’t want her to feel the wrath of Master’s hand, or have to endure the endless favors of Mistress. I wanted so much more for her. “You know, its hard to sleep when you stare at me like that.” She said as she sat up in the bed looking over at me smiling. I tried to wipe the tear from my eye before she could see. “What’s wrong with you momma? I haven’t seen you so upset, since they took Daddy away!” She rushed over to my bed, and wrapped her arms around me. I looked away from her. I didn’t want her to see weak. She always knew me to be such a strong woman. I never let her see me cry. Even when I found out what they did to Jim Paul, I cried silent tears at night. I turned to her, “You moving into the big house tomorrow.” She looked down for a minute, and looked back up at me. “Well what if I don’t want too?” she began to rant, before she could go any further, I hushed her. “You know things don’t always happen the way that we want them too, but we have to be strong in our faith, and just know that god will see us through our trails.” she stood up and walked to the corner of the shack. She wanted to go on, but she knew that I had said my piece and there wasn’t much more to be said. “You understand?” she turned to me and lowered her head, “yes ma’am”. “Now lay down and get some rest, you got a big day tomorrow.” She nodded and laid her head on her mat staring at the ceiling.
I watched the sun rise that morning. It seemed almost as if it didn’t want to come out and start the day, just like me. “Good Morning Miss Sarah” I heard from the distance. I walked out of the shack to see John Boy walking towards us carrying a cart, the cart that carry away my baby girl. He looked at my face, and saw everything I wanted to say, and he just threw his arms around me. I couldn’t hold back another moment. I burst into tears, I grabbed him tightly to make sure that no one else saw me in such a state. I whispered to him, “I don’t want to loose my baby”. He gave me a squeeze, and looked down at me, “I know, and God knows, and I am sure she doesn’t want to loose you either”. He looked me in the eye and assured me that everything would be alright. “If you ever need anything you just let me know, even if you just need me to play that song you like” he said with a smile. I asked him to promise me that he would help me to watch her. He nodded and gave me another squeeze before he let go. I dried my eyes and came back to my senses quickly and turned to the door to see Annabelle standing there in the dress I made. The sun breath shined on her, highlighting her innocence. The only way that I ever wanted to see her. John Boy greeted her and began moving her things from the shack into the cart. I looked across the field and watched Master and Mistress watching from the porch of the big house. Mistress stood their eagerly like a child waiting for a new pet to arrive, and Master just stood their like he was God watching from a cloud.
As she walked along side John Boy I made my way to the field. My mind once again racing. Even though the big house was just a moments walk away from the camp, it felt like they had put an ocean between us. I spent most of the day praying in my mind as pulled cotton, the cuts of the thorns on my hands couldn’t hurt as much as my heart did. In my mind I just kept thinking, I fought for Jim Paul, but I just gave my daughter away. I could imagine what he would have said if he was here to see what was happening. He always knew exactly what to say or what to do. Even though he was a slave, Master feared him. The other men admired him, and everyone wanted to be like him. Strong. Maybe if I was only stronger, I would have protected her, or told Mistress she wasn’t ready, because I know I wasn’t ready, ready to let her go.