Sunday, January 24, 2010

Challenge 5: Leaving Louisiana

February 14th
It is hardly surprising that I have no valentines today. My school is a prison and boys are the devil. I look out, through the bars of my cell, and see other girls dancing merrily on the street or walking by on their lover’s arm. I shall never be one of them. My father already knows who he wants me to marry. Less than a year and I shall be Mrs. Louis Rodger, baroness of the largest plantation in Carencro, Louisiana. Oh hell, that old man is twice my age and five times my weight. I fear he shall squash the very life out of me on our wedding night.

February 19th
Academy of the Sacred Heart. There is a sort of comfort in that name, don’t you think? I was in mass this morning and Sister Maria spoke about a part of our heart that no man can touch. I mean, to tell the truth, the catholic church is probably short of nuns at the moment, so maybe she is just recruiting, but still…

February 20th
My room-sister, Elizabeth, found my diary last night. I was such a fool, leaving it just sitting on top of my chest like that. She has promised she didn’t read it, but I am not sure I believe her. I will definitely lock it up when I am finished tonight.

March 17th
Back at last. My father and mother took me out of school for nearly four weeks to visit my future husband’s estate. Can you believe that I would rather spend my days in this two person cell than as mistress of such a place? Neither can I. The tour was certainly impressive, golden fields stretching out to the horizon, food so plentiful that I would soon look as large as dear Louis himself. Could I put aside the knowledge of where it all comes from? Do I even have a choice?

There’s another thing too… Louis took me aside into his library on the afternoon before we were to head back to New Orleans and he told me he was very happy that father was agreeing to this marriage. He promised me all sorts of pretty dresses and parties and that I would be one of the most popular ladies in Carencro… maybe I would even get to meet the president some day. He seemed sweet, but I know he was wrong. The president hates men like Louis Rodger. I hear it from Sister Agnes who is the only black nun at Sacred Heart school. She says that there is a war coming and the South is going to feel the pain of god’s wrath.

Now I’m back here, sitting in my tiny room, staring out my barred windows and I can hear Elizabeth snoring behind me. She doesn’t notice my candlelight, or maybe she pretends not to anyway. She’s a good girl, when it comes down to it. Maybe she wouldn’t tell, at least for a little while. See papa has decided that whatever he is getting from ol’ Louis for me, he can not wait any more. I overheard him talking to the matron about taking me out, maybe at the end of the month. I only have a few more days.

Please god, help me decide. What should I do?

April 4th
The hay is getting everywhere, under my shirt and into my worn out shoes. I barely recognize myself as I cower here, behind the bales, listening to dogs howling to each other. I am not a prisoner any more, I am a runaway slave, or near enough. I am certainly a fool.

Has it really been a half month since I wrote? I suppose I did not want Elizabeth to know my plans. Perhaps now she can marry old Louis, she seems like the sort who would enjoy that sort of thing. Myself, I could not live without adventure, nor with the blood of those men and women in my sugar. Figuratively, of course.

Papa will never forgive me for what I have done; I only hope God will be a little more understanding.

Wordcount: 708

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