Ann and Anna, (serial short story, Part 3): Trust

   Part 2 was last Sunday, and Part 1 began here

     The apple in my mouth turned to bile, as the smell of corn and tobacco mingled with the odor of my own fear.  My entire body began to tremble, my hand shaking almost uncontrollably.  It moved as if of its own accord, seeking out the solace of my sewing basket.  What I began hours ago, I would finish, now, before those horses arrived, carrying a far worse fate with them.  I was drawing the scissors out of my basket when a shadow fell across me.  The moon had just come out, and Anna had stood up, still leaning against the wagon:

     “Right on time.”

     She looked from my wide eyes to my sewing basket, nodding toward my still bloody left forearm.

     “You didn’t really think I’d stop here and just wait on those patrollers to come collect us up, now did you?  Really?  Miss Willow, you-

     The thundering of hooves drowned out the last of her words, but her eyes, and her down-turned mouth, told me all I needed to know.  She was such a young thing, but held so much more wisdom than I’d ever learned.  When, after all, could I ever have learned to trust my fate, given what I’ve seen of this world?

     She touched me almost tenderly on the shoulder, bringing my thoughts back to the present.

     “Do you know how to ride a horse?” she looked at me, then glanced at the two white men who were now dismounting in front of the wagon.  I shook my head no.

     “Well, you will just have to learn something quick, because we are taking these two good horses across country for a little while, at least until we get out of Maryland, Delaware, too.”

     “I heard we had to go all the way up to Canada now.”  I had no idea of what the plan might be.  I had heard talk of a law that the Senator was proud to have forced through, buying him two horses for the price of one, some said.  Coffles were no longer to be seen, chained misery shuffling up the Market Street from the Wharf, so that our good White citizens can look  respectable in the eyes of those envoys sent from distant lands.  Particularly the English.  At the same time, any of us who manage to escape our bonds can now be safe only across the border from the land of our own birth, in British Canada.

     “Yes, yes we do.  And there we will go.”

     She looked at me so steadily that I could feel my former mourning turning to hope, if not to joy, beneath her gaze.  Just then, one of the white men cleared his throat.  He was standing nose to nose, at the head of our horse, holding the reins of both the wagon and his horse.

     Anna patted me on the shoulder, turned, and walked over to him, straight and tall.  She now seemed to be far taller than she had first appeared.  They exchanged a few words as they both turned toward the second horse.  Anna took the reins from the other white man.  She showed no fear of them whatsoever, almost as if they had known each other for some time.  She turned back to me, leading both horses over to the side of the wagon where I still sat, my head nearly level with the wagon’s walls.

     She switched the reins of both horses to her right hand, holding out her left to me, and I rose up, stepping over the side of the wagon, and down to the ground.  It hadn’t been nearly as far as I’d imagined.  That wagon had been my world for some hours, but now it seemed small, fragile.  Then I looked up at those horses, and I felt small, and fragile.  Gather up your courage, girl!  Oh, Willow, don’t you weep, either.  The song reminded me of Mary, bringing my sorrow from yesterday back with it.  Not now.  There is a time to mourn, and a time to dance.  With horses, too.  I looked to see where the white men were.  They were facing away from us, as respectful as could be.  It was a wonder to me, though I was grateful.  I gathered up the hem of my dress and bunched it around my waist.  I felt indecent, but there was no help for it, if I didn’t want to break my neck up on this huge beast.  My head hardly reached the animal’s back.

     “I guess it’s time for me to learn to love this horse.  Miss Anna, will you teach me?”

     I saw that twinkle in her eye, for sure, this time!

     “I surely will, Miss Willow.”

     And with that, she patted the saddle of the horse nearest me, “Her name is Mary,” bent down and touched my left foot, looking up at me “Put your foot in the stirrup, and I’ll catch you around the waist to help you up into the saddle.”

     “You mean I’m to ride like a man?”   I had no idea how I would ever stay on top of that horse, as big as he, I mean to say she, was.

     “If you want to get away, yes Ma’am, you do.  You might want to open your bodice a little, too, so you can breathe.”

     One of the white men cleared his throat, just loud enough for us to notice.  Time to get a move on.  Then, as if she’d read my thoughts,

     “Time to get a move on, here, Miss Willow.  You just trust me and old Mary here, you’ll be fine, she won’t let you fall, and neither will I.”

      For a moment, as I looked into her almond eyes, I thought I might just fall.

       This is the third scene in my new series  Ann&Anna.  I  hope that this series will move you to learn more ways to help use our history to build new tools.

Part 2 was last Sunday, and next Sunday will be Part 4.

I look forward to your thoughts.

Shira

Action Items:

1.) What are your thoughts on the song references in this part of our story: do they resonate with you?

2.) Share your feelings about this part of our short story, and how it connects with you, please.

3.) Write your own story, post or tweet that uses those thoughts.

Dear Readers, ideas on learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning, on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind? 

Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure  & #StopSmoking at least for CCOVID-19:
1. #PublicLibraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write

-we can learn from the past Stayed on Freedom’s Call for free,

     by Teaching and Learning (Lesson Plans offline) in the present, to

           help build a kinder future: Do Better (was Baby Acres): a Vision of a Better World

 

Peace     ! שָׁלוֹם

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BSCS

the year, 2021 CE = year 12021 HE

(Online pdfs of 5 month GED lesson 11 of 67 plans…), and

Babylon 5 review posts, how story inspires learning…)

Stayed on Freedom’s Call
(free: https://archive.org/details/StayedOnF…)
includes two ‘imagination-rich’ walking tours, with songs, of Washington, DC. New interviews and research are woven into stories of old struggles shared by both the Jewish and African-American communities in the capital city.

Shared histories are explored from a new perspective of cultural parallels and parallel institution-building which brought the two communities together culturally and historically.

Please leave a review, if you can, on the GoodReads page.

Shira 

Creative Commons License
Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

23 thoughts on “Ann and Anna, (serial short story, Part 3): Trust

    1. Thank you for this feedback: I thought it was clear, back in Part I, that the story begins in DC, in front of the White House (I got feedback from Stayed on Freedom’s Call telling me that readers who did not know the early history of DC needed more “unpacking” but I didn’t understand how much to unpack, or where). The “Federal City” was a period term that I thought would be understood now, because the post 9/11 security between the Capitol complex and the White House is a direct result of the President’s direct authority over the Federal City, which runs roughly from today’s National Mall over to the LoC complex and up to about where L’Enfant Plaza is, today, if I recall correctly.

      So, is it clear, in Parts 1 and 2, that we started at the White House?

      (sorry, in answer to your question, no, it is never set in Alexandria, which was retroceeded back to VA well before 1851, and then became the Queen of the Domestic Slave Trade. To get there from the White House, at least one canal, the one where Constitution Avenue now runs, as well as the Potamac, would have to be crossed, but I didn’t make that clear, so I’ll need to do better in upcoming sections).

      I was just about to clarify, in Part 4, the geographical situation, but I see that my hints didn’t work well.

      Liked by 4 people

  1. I was too immersed in the story to pay attention to the details of either the Federal City (which I do know) or the White House (which I should have identified having been there at least once for a Christmas tour.) The fault is mine and not yours. You would think that living and working in the area for almost 30 years would have made me more familiar with the locale. I did learn something new about Alexandria from your response. You may be happy to know that Alexandria has finally gotten rid of the pissed-off Confederate statue that stood in the middle of Washington Street, facing Richmond. Charlottesville and Richmond have vanquished a number of their confederate statues too, although dozens of small towns and cities still retain their’s in Virginia.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh, cool! Immersed is good!
      🙂
      And I’m glad to be able to teach a fellow teacher something (ok, I view librarians as teachers of teachers, but you know already that “I love you guys!” right?) 🙂 !

      Yeah, I keep reading that VA is changing, but I’m still not holding my breath. It’s hard for me to imagine The Old Dominion changing for another hundred years. But maybe it’s my old childhood experience rearing its ugly head, again. I’m still hesitant to go look up the records in Byrd, VA, for the plantations 3 MU records, which are surely my Mayo relatives, from Goochland Co. My 1981-84 experiences in VA simply refuse to go away, particularly given the fact that that was such a critical time for me, and the adults knew it. I suspect that Woodbridge, despite being part of Northern VA, is likely to be one of those places that keeps its confederate outlook, if not any statues.

      Have they gotten around to renaming the Jefferson Davis Hwy, yet?

      Liked by 2 people

        1. I sometimes wonder about that boy who ‘greeted’ me on my first day at Rippon with the N-word, and I imagine that even he might be able to realize that there are other ways of thinking, seeing the world, and doing things, without the hate he was taught to feel for people like myself.
          I wonder, and then I realize that this may be what story is about: helping people to imagine a better way of being?

          Liked by 2 people

    1. Bwahahaha!! Thank you! Finally, someone has asked about Anna/Anne Marie Weems! And I’d worried that the image on Part 2 was too much of a give away.

      Yes, Weems knew the DC area quite well, as stated in the runwaway ad featured in Part 2: she was born there. MD state historical archives even document her escape, after staying with her parents, who were free, for 6 weeks, which is why she was still in DC in November, after escaping in September. Talk about cool-headed! I’ve just added a bit to her known itinerary, and taken a tiny liberty with the get-away from the White House, or the President’s House, as it was known back then. Her’s is one of the more well-documented escapes in slave/ Black History.

      Damned near as daring as that of Henry “box” Brown, or Harriet Jacobs.

      And, yes, The Black Moses, as Tubman was known, freed at least 700 slaves, even more if you count the 1000 or so in SC, where she actually led Union troops in!
      Tubman is probably MD’s biggest claim to fame, aside from Frederick Douglas (fka Frederick Bailey), from Baltimore originally.
      Sorry, too much info., I imagine.
      Shira

      Like

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