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She was young and beautiful. Two out of three men from her village, if asked, would surely say they felt attracted to her. She had the body of a swan, the speed of a cheetah, and the beauty of a rose. Her name was Analsa.
Today was Analsa’s sixteenth birthday, a day of pride and prestige for her parents, a day of glory and happiness for her since this was the day that marked her going from a girl to a woman. But, today was also the day she was to be engaged to the man who proposed and accomplished her father’s challenge.
Analsa knew every man who had greeted her that morning would be in line outside her door waiting for the challenge from her father. She thought most of these men were small and too old for her but, she still enjoyed watching them all line up that afternoon.
She knew her father knew who she wished to marry and spend her days with and her father always said his one mission in life was to keep her happy. She was sure the man who would carry her away that night would be Kawasa.
Kawasa was but two years older than her and he was mighty and strong and fast; everything she dreamed her husband would be. He had been giving her a flower every morning for the past year and she knew he would be there and ask for her hand.
The minutes passed, and with every minute Analsa grew more impatient waiting for it to be Kawasa’s turn. She waited and waited, counting down the men. Just five more men before Kawasa; just four more; three more men, just three more; two; one, oh lord, just one more!
She watched this last man fail at her father’s impossible challenge. Her father had been giving every man there a challenge completely impossible; to catch a lion and feed it to an elephant; to outrun a zebra; to steal a tooth from a cheetah. She knew that her father would give Kawasa the easiest challenge of all and then they would surely be engaged and married that same night.
Oh my lord! It was Kawasa’s turn. Kawasa approached her father and her father had a gleam in his eye that gave Kawasa courage and hope that his challenge wouldn’t be as impossible as were the ones for the other men.
“Kawasa, I challenge you, in order to have my daughter’s hand in marriage, you must go to a banana tree on the shores of the great waters and gather three nice banana leaves for my wife.”, said her father still with a gleam in his eye.
Kawasa smiled and declared, “I accept the challenge.”
Analsa watched him leave her hut and jog to the banana tree that was just on the shores of the never ending great waters. He was perfect, she couldn’t be any happier.
“BOOOOM!” The sound was like no other Analsa had ever heard before and it made her jump a bit. She ignored it and returned to the window to watch her Kawasa get those leaves.
She got to the window and lost her breathe at what she saw. Strange white men holding shiny tubes with handles were running up the shore of the great waters; they were making so much noise with their shouts in a tongue she had never heard before.
She scanned the shore looking for Kawasa and when she found him, she collapsed in shock. There was her loved Kawasa, laying just yards from her hut, banana leaves still in hands, lifeless, and a huge puddle of blood around him.
She collapsed and went into temporary shock at this sight but, bringing her back to reality, there was a loud bang in the front room. She peeked and saw white men rush into her hut, her father on the floor in front of the door dead, and her mother was running towards her.
“We have to get out of here! Come Ana…AAAHHH!” screamed her mother as a white man caught her by the hair and dragged her out.
Analsa was shocked and she had no idea where he had come from but before she knew it, there was a white man right in front of her, glaring with eyes of a drunk full of lust but at the same time disgust. She didn’t have time to run and the man graved her arm and dragged her out behind her mother.
They were taken to a line of people from Analsa’s village, all chained together with a look of horror on their faces.
As time passed, the line grew longer and longer. By day break, there were at least 200 people in line, everyone chained to each other hands and feet. The white men walked in front of them as if making an inspection of their items. They shot the small, weak, and useless; the ones who were of use were stripped and marched onto a large ship.
When it was Analsa’s turn for inspection, she couldn’t think of anything but about how scared she felt. She hadn’t seen her mother since the night before, her father was dead, Kawasa was dead, and this man was about to strip her.
The man looked her up and down, taking a slight pause on her young breast, then unchained her, grabbed her and pulled her towards the ship, on the way there stripping her of everything on her body until she was walking naked.
They arrived at the ship and on deck, he started to touch her and kiss her. She struggled with him but, with every pull she made to go free, he hit her and eventually she just gave up.
When he was done, she was taken below and put in a quarter with 10 other women. It was as if they had been boxed up, with barely enough room to move, the air smelling putrid of sweat and blood, but they just went into the quarter and stared at the floor in disbelief that this was happening.
They had no sense of time in their ‘box’ for there were no windows to see the sun so what must have been hours or minutes passed, they fell asleep one on top of the other almost. When they awoke they found food and water had been tossed in for them but it was barely enough to feed one person let alone all ten of them.
The days or weeks or months were all the same; every minute of the day cooped up in this box with hardly any food or water, having to use the floor as a bathroom. The air in this box was the putrid smell of urine, poop, and vomit for some women were sea sick, and even the smell of urine mixed with blood from menstruations some women were going through.
Finally, what must have been days after, a man came and opened the ceiling of this box letting in a blinding light ,that indicated it was day, and let them out on deck. They were still chained together and nude but this seemed like a cheap cost for that fresh air and sunlight they had been craving.
Members of the crew walked by at times and touched them and they had given up on all sanity so they just stood there with a dead look on their faces. If they fought, they were beaten and harshly punished so they just let the crew abuse them.
Months passed and it was a living hell for every new slave on that ship. Analsa lost her virginity to the captain, she was beaten uncountable times to the point where she bled and moaned in agony at night. Her mother lost all signs of life slowly; she stopped talking, her look was dead, and sometimes you wondered if she was still breathing.
They docked on the shores of a sandy beach lined with dozens of carriages and carts, all the men obviously rich and with the money to pay for a few slaves. There were also a few curious youngsters on the beach.
All the Africans were brought to shore, chained hands and feet yet again and were lined up before these new white men waiting.
Analsa was chained away from her mother so she had to crane her neck to see her.
She finally saw an old man with a double chin point at her mother. One of their capturers unchained her mother and the old man took her and tied her to the bed of a cart waiting. The man didn’t look back, just mounted the cart and left. Analsa knew that was the last time she would ever see her mother and this really finished the slow process of her living death.
After what seemed like hours of standing on that hot sand under the burning sun, two men approached her. One was quite elderly and the other looked around her own age. The youngest had an annoyed look on his face as if he had been forced to come by the older man who must have been his father.
They looked her up and down and after an uncaring nod from the boy, the old man pointed at her and she was unchained and handed over to them.
She was taken to a carriage led by two beautiful horses and she was indicated to climb aboard. The old man drove the carriage and the boy rode inside with her.
They eventually reached a large finca, a huge plantation with a mansion at the entrance to indicate the wealth of the owners.
She was told to dismount the carriage and follow the boy.
He led her to the house and inside awaiting them was another black man like her.
“Hello,” he said in her language. It shocked her to find someone who spoke her language so she just nodded in response. “I am Nadusy; I was brought here to work about a year ago, captured from my Africa like you. But you are not here to work, they have asked me to tell you that you will be educated and taught Spanish, their tongue, and in a month you are to marry Fernando, the boy next to you, he is the owner’s only son. He is 20 years old and must be married soon for his father is dying and needs heirs. His father is not the man who drove you here; his father is upstairs and asked me to inform you that you are welcomed to the family. The law was just changed and a white man can legally marry a black woman and since Fernando can’t make up his mind, he was commanded by his father to choose a woman from the next slave ship that came. That woman was you.” Nadusy said all this like a lifeless robot and as soon as he finished he was dismissed and left the house.
She looked at Fernando, he looked so fragile in his fancy rich boy clothing, and he was not what she wanted to marry. Oh! She missed Kawasa so badly! At the thought of Kawasa, she burst into tears. A maid came into the room and dressed her and took her to the dining hall.
At the dining hall was Fernando, he had changed into more casual normal clothes and he looked… almost handsome. She sat down, and they ate their supper in silence.
She was treated like a queen. As the days passed, she thought this life was better than aboard that ship but she still wasn’t happy. In just two weeks, she was to marry Fernando and yes, he was handsome and he was sweet but, he wasn’t Kawasa.
The day finally came. It had been a month since she had arrived in this new land and she was learning the language well, everything was well. Except her forced marriage of course.
By now she was able to hold a conversation in Spanish and she made friends and she was starting to become happy again but, when the day of her marriage came. She found herself wishing she was dead.
She was awoken that morning, bathed in oils, dressed in a beautiful wedding dress, and after, taken by horse carriage to the chapel where there seemed to be a hundred people awaiting to see the wedding between the rich lord Fernando Morales and Analsa, a black girl of no name.
The ceremony was like a buzz in the background to Analsa; she stared into space the whole time and said what she was asked to until finally, she was hearing the priest saying, “I declare you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.”
Fernando turned to face her with a huge smile on his face. For her part, her face was blank of any emotion and all she wanted to do was cry.
In slow motion almost, she saw him come closer, put his arms around her, and then his lips touched hers and he kissed her.
For the rest of the celebrations, she focused on Fernando. His kiss had been amazing and reminded her of all the things he had done for her. Once, he had found her deep in tears in the garden and had held her and told her, from what she understood, “Todo va a estar bien, no te preocupes. Yo te voy a cuidar y no voy a dejar que nada te pase.” Everything will be ok, don’t worry, I will take of you and I wont let anything happen to you. He had done little things like this and maybe he had won her heart.