Ch. 3 “Guilt is the very nerve of sorrow” -Horace Bushnell
When Alla woke up it was daylight. It was… bright. The weather had been very perplexing lately, it was winter after all. Although she’d slept through the night and through dinner, she was still quite tired. Sitting up, Alla stretched, yawned, and threw her bare feet over the side of the bed. My bare feet! Godfrey must have noticed when he looked at the fringes of my dress that my feet were bare! She panicked. If Godfrey had any particular thoughts about the situation, he never gave anything away. She didn’t even have an excuse to give if he made inquiries as to her lack of footwear.
Shrugging and deciding she would wait to worry about it until he made inquiries; she stood and stumbled over to the window. She’d never been fond of mornings. How some people could wake up cheery was beyond her. Of course, none of the slaves ever woke up happy. She supposed it was very easy for those who were waited on hand and foot, and had their every whim granted, to wake up smiling. As for Alla, she had developed an aversion to those who were served. Granted, an exception was given to her sister Kate and her brother, Charles, who often jested with her as she served them. They made her feel like a person, although they would never acknowledge her as a relation.
She looked out of the window and up towards the clouds. Seagulls claimed the sky, hovering in different areas, swooping down towards the sea only to change direction at the last possible moment and flying upward. An overwhelming feeling to race up to the deck and watch their performance came over her. She wanted to lose herself in nature.
She turned towards her door at the sound of knocking, and when she opened it, was not the least bit surprised to see Godfrey. Well, she couldn’t really see him, for his face was obscured by the piles of clothing he carried in his arms.
“Godfrey, mum,” he stated, as if that were even necessary.
Alla stepped back from the door, amazed at all of the clothing he carried, and the different colors and styles of the gowns.
“Yes, please come in,” she invited, before closing the door.
“The door must remain open!” Godfrey hastily announced. Alla immediately swung the door open once more. His panicked tone about something seemingly trivial made her fight the urge to laugh. Godfrey walked over to the bed and set the pile on top of it. Turning stiffly towards her, he spoke. “I am not privy to how things are done in the colonies,” he informed her, “but in England, if you desire to keep your reputation intact you must never be in a room alone with a man unless the door is ajar.”
Reputation? I have a reputation? “Yes, I understand. My apologies,” she responded.
Putting her lack of etiquette aside for the moment, he made a sweeping gesture towards the clothes on her bed. “I was able to acquire these gowns and other things for your comfort. Among them you will find some night apparel,” he said as his eyes ran up and down her gown, noting that she had apparently slept in it.
“Thank you,” she responded. Must he be so obvious?
“Would you like to break your fast here or in the dining area?”
Alla would be more at ease in her own quarters; that much was certain. Yet, she couldn’t hide forever. At some point, she would have to be around whites on a regular basis…wouldn’t she? If she was going to be successful at whatever she was doing, it would be imperative for her to be around whites. I’d better start practicing.
“I would like to have breakfast in the dining area.”
Godfrey inclined his head, “very good, mum.” He backed out of the tiny room.
“Yes?” he answered.
“Will you be there?”
Godfrey paused. He inclined his head once more and closed the door as he backed out of the room.
Turning towards the bed, Alla began to rifle through the pile that lay before her. Gowns of different colors, bonnets, night clothes, stockings, petticoats, corsets, and shoes lay before her. She smiled, overwhelmed by all of the clothes given her. How did he know what shoes would fit me? No matter, even if they don’t fit I’ll wear them. I ain’t-I won’t be particular. After deciding to wear a violet-colored gown that was buried under the pile, she dressed and walked over to the mirror that was bolted on her cabin wall; and stood immobile, not recognizing the woman staring back at her.
|Katja Shchekina||as Alla|
|Lynn Whitfield||as Mama|
|Derek Luke||as Alla's brother|