In other news, his “feelings” are noticeable again
If, and I quote, “Some shit just never should have happened”, why do you keep acting otherwise? You had your chance. I could have been yours a long time ago, but you didn’t want me. So I don’t want you anymore. I’m not waiting on you to realize what could be anymore. You’re jealousy doesn’t bring me hope anymore, just annoyance. I told you, if you chose friendship, that’s where I’m leaving it. Admitting you screwed up is nice, but I’m not going back. I’ll always love you, though. Thought we had this talk already, but I guess you’re hard of hearing.
So people have been telling me they can sense that I’m a sad person. I hadn’t the slightest clue that I was giving off this aura. I guess I’m not putting up as good of a front as I thought…
See dis face? See dis mouf all twist over here so’s I can’t shet it? See dat eye? All raid, ain’t it? Been dat way fo’ eighty-some years now. Guess it gonna stay dat way tell I die. Well, ole Missus made dis face dis way.
Wanta know ‘bout slave days, do you? Well, set on dat chair. I’ll tell you what slave days was like. Marsa was a well-meanin’ man, but ole Missus was a common dog. Was twenty-some o’ us slaves, an’ dat was one house where de men workin’ in de fiel’ git mo’ to eat den de house servants. In de house ole Missus was so stingy-mean dat she didn’t put enough on de table to feed a swaller.
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Well, here’s how it happened. She put a piece of candy on her washstan’ one day. I was ‘bout eight or nine years ole, an’ it was my task to empty de slop ev’y mornin’. I seed dat candy layin’ dere, an’ I was hungry. Ain’t had a father workin’ in de fiel’ like some of de chillun to bring me eats—had jes’ little pieces of scrap-back each mornin’ throwed at me from de kitchen. I seed dat peppermint stick layin’ dere, an’ I ain’t dared go near it ‘cause I knew ole Missus jus’ waitin’ for me to take it. Den one mornin’ I so hungry dat I cain’t resist. I went straight in dere an’ grab dat stick of candy an’ stuffed it in my mouf an’ chew it down so quick so ole Missus never fin’ me wid it.
Nex’ mornin’ ole Missus say:
"Henrietta, you take dat piece o’ candy out my room?" "No mam, ain’t seed no candy." "Chile, you lyin’ to me. You took dat candy." "Deed, Missus, I tel de truf. Ain’t seed no candy." "You lyin’ an I’m gonna whup you. Come here." "Please, Missus, please don’t whup me. I ain’t seed no candy. I ain’t took it." Well, she got her rawhide down from de nail by de fire place, an’ she grabbed me by de arm an’ she try to turn me ‘cross her knees whilst she set in de rocker so’s she could hol’ me. I twisted an’ turned till finally she called her daughter. De gal come an’ took dat strap like her mother tole her an’ commence to lay it on real hard whilst Missus holt me. I twisted ‘way so dere warn’t no chance o’ her gittin’ in no solid lick. Den ole Missus lif’ me up by de legs, an’ she stuck my haid under de bottom of her rocker, an’ she rock forward so’s to hol’ my haid an’ whup me some mo’. I guess dey must of whupped me near a hour wid dat rocker leg a-pressin’ down on my haid.
Nex’ thing I knew de ole Doctor was dere, an’ I was lyin’ on my pallet in de hall, an’ he was a-pushin’ an’ diggin’ at my face, but he couldn’t do nothin’ at all wid it. Seem like dat rocker pressin’ on my young bones had crushed ‘em all into soft pulp. De nex’ day I couldn’ open my mouf an’ I feel it an’ dey warn’t no bone in de lef’ side at all. An’ my mouf kep’ a-slippin’ over to de right side an’ I couldn’t chaw nothing’—only drink milk. Well, ole Missus musta got kinda sorry ‘cause she gits de doctor to come regular an’ pry at my mouf. He git it arterwhile so’s it open an’ I could move my lips, but it kep’ movin’ over to de right, an’ he couldn’t stop dat. Arter a while it was over jes’ whar it is now. An’ I ain’t never growed no mo’ teef on dat side. Ain’t never been able to chaw nothin’ good since. Don’t even ‘member what it is to chaw. Been eatin’ liquid, stews, an’ soup ever since dat day, an’ dat was eighty-six years ago.
Here, put yo han’ on my face—right here on dis lef’ cheek—dat’s what slave days was like. It made me so I been goin’ roun’ lookin’ like a false face
In this excerpt from Weevils in the Wheat (1976), a former slave, Henrietta King of West Point, Virginia (b. 1843), tells an interviewer about the disfigurement she suffered at the hands of her former mistress. Weevils in the Wheat, edited by Charles L. Perdue Jr., Thomas E. Barden, and Robert K. Phillips, collects all the interviews of former Virginia slaves conducted during the Great Depression by theVirginia Writers’ Project. Many of the interviews, including King’s, were published inThe Negro in Virginia (1940). The original interview transcriptions often rendered African American speech phonetically.