I am Lily. I am a slave. The girl teaches me.
When I teach Lily she devours the words like they are pieces of pie. In fact, the only books I can get my hands on are cookbooks. I plan to leave sometime, and take Lily with me. She refuses, though.
I, Lily, can read. I can write. The girl told me how. She is very nice.
Lily is learning fast. I hope we can escape soon. She refuses any time I talk about it, though. I am afraid that she might tell her mistress what we talk about.
It is December. The last month. The girl told me how to write more words. I am a fast learner, she says. I can read and write the first recipe in the cook book. I am smart, she says. When the girl tells me to escape with her, I say no. I get food here, and a warm blanket in the shed. What will I get on the forest? Nothing except berries and roots.
Lily can now write down almost all of the recipes in the cookbook, and she begs me for more lessons. Her mistress is okay with Lily reading, so I cherish every moment that I can with her, because there are rumors of war. If war breaks out, will we be separated? I still ask her if she wants to escape, but she thinks that she will get nothing if she leaves. A question keeps drifting back into my mind. She has everything here, so why take it all away?
I can write better. I am learning new words each day. The girl wants me to leave, but I have everything I want here. My mistress is not mean to me, and she gives me warm blankets when it is cold. I do not know why the girl wants me to leave.
There are more rumors of war. I beg Lily, but she still refuses. I have an answer to my question. Lily has everything except freedom.
There is war. It is about the slaves. Since I am in Georgia, my mistress won’t let me read any more. She takes away all the books that I know about and burns them. I need to spend all my time outside now, working. Sometimes I am allowed inside, but that is only to wash the tables and dust the china. My mistress thinks slaves are good for nothing, and I take advantage of that. When I can dust the china, I break her best dishes to get back at her. She flogs me even more, but I don’t care.
I finally persuaded Lily to come with me. We decided to escape tonight.
I am sold, and have been taken to North Carolina. My new master whips me if I don’t get something done right. I still have hope. Words.
The war is over. The Union won. I am free.