After the Civil Rights law was passed, the topic of slavery has been all over the media. People who were once a slave, like me, were constantly requested to be interviewed. I always hated interviews, they ask too many questions.
My drinking buddy’s nephew works as a journalist. He asked me if his nephew could interview me about my past experience. As much as I hated interviews, the amount of drinks I owed him was enormous. I decided to give him a chance.
“Mr. Mundy, do you recall anything about your parents?”
Ah, the question I hoped to avoid answering. The thought of my parents always brought tears to my eyes like squeezing a lemon juice from a dried lemon. “I have no memories about my mother. She died when I was two. She passed away while being transported to America. I don’t even know what she looked like.”
“How about your father, do you remember anything about him?”
“Yes, he was everything to me. He died when I was nine. He was a great man.”
“Can you tell me about your father’s death?”
This is why I hate interviews. They make you go through all the pain you had, again. “It was way back in the day. A couple months after my ninth birthday, our master hosted a party. Our master served in the army and he was promoted to General. I was nine, old enough to serve as a waiter. I was nervous. It was my first time at a party.
“Guests slowly entered the mansion and soon the house was full of people. When everyone arrived, one of the guests rang the glass to get the crowd’s attention. He talked about the master’s promotion and everyone applauded. The party officially began and things started to fall apart for me.
“I was only supposed to stand at the counter and pour wine in the glass. However, one of the slaves who was with us had to use the restroom. He asked me to serve drinks to the guests. I couldn’t protest about it because he left so fast. I took the tray and walked around the room. I was more nervous. I just walked around the room mindlessly when I bumped into something.
“I bumped into the mayor’s wife. I spilled wine all over her dress. Her silk blue dress was soaked with bloody wine. She screamed and everyone’s eyes were now on us. I was scared and I only remember murmuring ‘I’m sorry ‘mam’ over and over. Suddenly, someone grabbed me by my shirt’s collar and threw me at the center of the room. It was my master. He apologized to the lady, and then to the mayor. He then turned towards me and punched the left side of my face.
“The master said, ‘When training a dog, you have to start when it’s really young.’ And punched the right side of my face, ‘but the problem with that is they don’t know if they made a mistake. That’s why you have to give them a lesson.’ As the master was about to blow a final punch my father shouted, ‘stop!’
“‘Please, stop.’ My father was on his knees begging. The master let go of my collar and walked towards my father. The master kicked my father in the face. He grabbed my father by his neck and started punching him in the stomach. ‘You see? This is what happen when you train them after they grow up. They’re too old to recognize their master,’ and punched my father’s face as he continued talking, ‘you dare tell me what to do? I’m going to kill you and your retarded son!’ The master grabbed his cane and was about to smack my father in the head.
“The master was interrupted by the mayor. The mayor said, ‘Why don’t you give this man a chance? His son ruined the celebration. Let him entertain us.’ Then two men from the crowd grabbed my father by his arms and forced him to stand up. ‘I’ll let you have the honor, sir.’ The master handed the cane to the mayor. The mayor started beating my father. I looked away, but the master grabbed my head and forced me to watch my father being tortured. I saw my father being brutally abused for God knows how long. The crowd cheered and laughed at us. Once my father went unconscious, the master ordered the slaves to take him out of the room. They placed him on his bed, but he didn’t make it. A few days later he left me alone.”
As I finished my story, my buddy’s nephew was speechless. Silence filled the room for a few minutes. “I… I’m sorry about your father.”
“People come and people go. It happens every time. I believe that we should never forget what they did to us. Not to take revenge on them, but to remind ourselves to not be like them. We were treated like a dog, or maybe worse than that. The important thing is, we managed to live through that hell. In the end, we survived and it made us stronger.”