Tossed to the Side

March 30, 2011
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“Ricki, chew with your mouth closed. Be a lady,” Meredith Abney snapped at her daughter as she smoothed out her baby blue day gown, and neatly placed her gold silk cloth napkin on her lap.

“Ma’am, uh, you’re uh water?” Betsey, a middle-aged African American woman, wearing a dirty, raggedy old throw up yellow colored apron and a piece of discarded cloth around her hair, which was matted and wet with sweat, nervously quivered. She was a slave on the Abney Plantation, and had been ever since Ricki was four years old. Her parents, Jay and Meredith, had bought Betsey from a family friend, along with twelve other slaves when demand for cotton became higher.

“Yes, thank you,” Ricki responded as Betsey placed the crystal water glass on the table in front of her twenty-four karat gold china plate. Although her family had always told her that the slaves were just slaves, Ricki had been raised a proper lady, and always used her “please” and “thank you”.

“Olivia? Abigail? Charlotte?” Jay called as he took a sip of his mint julep. He looked at his youngest daughter, “Ricki, where are your sisters?”

“I don’t know, probably fussing over that letter that Charlotte got yesterday. They’ve been obsessed. I think Charlotte has probably read the letter aloud to them about four hundred times,” Ricki responded, rolling her eyes. She was only thirteen, and the triplets were eighteen. They ignored Ricki, and spent every waking moment together.

“Sorry, daddy, we were just reading that darling note from Grayer that Charlotte received yesterday,” Olivia cooed, as she swept across the dining room in her violet colored gown.

“It’s just too adorable!” Abigail squealed, as she took her usual seat, next to Olivia. Her slave, Ruth, pulled out her chair for her as she sat down, and flopped her napkin on her lap.

“Hush up,” Charlotte blushed, taking a sip of her champagne. “All of the gossip is false, don’t believe either of them, Grayer and I are not getting married. I have my sights set on Columbia University, you know that, right daddy?”

Charlotte was the do-gooder of the family. Beautiful, ladylike, charming, intelligent, and gracious. She was the first to fall in love, with a wealthy boy up north named Grayer. Charlotte and he met when she was in New York City in the fall to attend the Opera. Jay did not approve, since he came from a family of abolitionists.

“Well, we still have matters to discuss about college, Olivia’s destined to be a Harvard woman, and Abigail will thrive at Oxford,” Jay said, stabbing a piece of his porterhouse steak with his fork.

“But Daddy, you’re allowing Olivia go to university up north. Of all places, you’re letting her to go Massachusetts! For a man who is so anti-north, you’re letting your daughter go to college in Massachusetts. You won’t even let me, you’re firstborn, go to Columbia,” Charlotte whined.

“You’re only older by four minutes,” Abigail hissed.

“Ladies!” Meredith tried to quiet her daughters.

“Charlotte Grace, listen to me, your mother and I do not want you to get distracted from your studies by that Grayer boy. He comes from a family who wants nothing more than to destroy our business,” Jay said. It was evident that he had put his foot down.

Charlotte glanced at her mother quickly with pleading eyes.

“Charlotte, your father and I care too much about you to let you move to New York City by yourself. It’s truly unsafe for a girl your age. You have grown up on the plantation. You don’t have enough experience. Sending your sister to Harvard is a different story,” Meredith defended her husband.

“You’re sending Abigail to Oxford, which is in another country, it’s not even on the same continent! You won’t even let me go to a university closer to home than Harvard and Oxford. I don’t understand, just because of a boy, you will not let me follow my dreams!” Charlotte cried.

She stood up, threw her napkin on the ground, and ran up to her bedroom, which was shared with Olivia and Abigail.

“I should probably go check on her,” Olivia said, standing up, and placing her napkin down on the table next to her barely touched steak and mashed potatoes.

“Uh, me too,” Abigail shrugged at her parents, and followed Olivia.

Ricki took a deep sigh. The drama that her sisters started was always all her parents cared about. Her life was always thrown to the side.

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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

TinaFeyfan said...
Apr. 19, 2011 at 1:57 pm
Pretty good. I found it interesting
gossier59 replied...
Apr. 19, 2011 at 2:45 pm
thank you! pretty good... I'll take it! Thanks! 
TinaFeyfan replied...
Apr. 19, 2011 at 5:20 pm

I wish I could read the rest of the novel


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