Oh God what am I doing? I was not sure if this was the right thing for me to do. I sat on the old slave auction block in my pretty antique white second hand dress. It was a handmade tea length dress with lots of lace and hand beading of pearls. I had done my hair in something reminiscent of Roman goddesses with a recycled pearl necklace. I sat admiring my 1920’s ecru colored Mary Jane flapper girl shoes. I was elated that I scored these gems at the Rosie’s Vintage store. I can’t really back out can I? I do not want to marry him. I do not really know him. He is so good looking though. He IS a Marine. But, there is something about him.
“Honey, it is time to go in.” said Sudie.
“Ok, I am coming.” I cannot let all these people down; especially Sudie. She has done so much for me. She has paid for everything except what I am wearing. It would break her heart if I backed out now.
I got up and stood on the limestone block that they once sold slaves on. I felt like I was selling myself into slavery because something just did not add up for me. I felt like I was making a mistake giving myself to this man in marriage. Maybe marriage is the plantation of bondage. I stood for a few moments with my arms wide letting the breeze tussle my dress and toy with my hair and then jumped off to be sold to the highest bidder.
I went in through the back kitchen door to see Sissy’s sweet face; it calmed me. She smiled her wide grin showing her crooked teeth and hugged me. It was as if she innately knew I needed it. Perhaps through family heritage, she KNEW! Sissy was Sudie’s “colored girl” (as Sudie called her). She was no girl; she was a 60 year old woman who worked for 82 year old Sudie for “as long as the day is long.” Her family had always worked on this plantation as paid servants and as slaves. I could not imagine how it must be for Sissy with all the history in this house. The holding cell was just under where we stood. The iron rings still clung to the mortar in the walls.
Sudie soon came in and said the guests were in the parlor and so I could make my way upstairs with my twin; my maid of honor. When the pianist began. We made our way down the spiral staircase. This staircase was hand hewed wood by a slave of this plantation house. He was given a deal that if he made the staircase, he would earn his freedom. He worked for two tedious years to complete the back breaking project and did earn his freedom. Now I walked these stairs to my slavery.
My parents were getting along which was a nice start. I had a few family members in attendance, some friends and coworkers. No one from his family or friends were present. Red alert! My twin was lovely in her red lace off the shoulder dress. Her hair was tied up in a full bun and she smiled. Everyone seemed happy for me, but I was not. My gut instinct was screaming, but I was tone deaf. Red Alert! The preacher in his fine suit, hiding the buff body I knew he had was uttering the vows we needed to repeat. I spent the time eyeing where I could escape. I felt compelled to make everyone happy, but could not make my happiness a priority. Red Alert!
He did look nice in his Marine dress blues uniform. He was always so polished looking. His hair in a high and tight, his jaw crisp and shaven, and the cleanest ears I had ever seen. However, there was something about that goofy grin of his that seemed to try to hide some wickedness of him. Red Alert! I knew it was just under the surface, but I kept denying it was there. I wanted to escape my current situation so much that I was willing to sell myself into the indentured service of marriage. Red Alert!
We celebrated the rest of the day with everyone eating cake, mints, and drinking punch. There were a ton of photos taken by the photographer Sudie hired and my dad. I played along. There were quips from jealous friends, such as “I guess I picked the wrong guy, should have nailed him.” Red Alert! It did not bother me; I was thinking, I wish you had. I did not know what love was and surely could not say positively I loved him. He would get me out and away from where I was in life at that time. Red Alert! He did. I paid the price for it. I truly was enslaved by him with abuse, control and mental torture.