The Walk Back Home

March 13, 2012
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As I walked back home through the woods, the harsh wind was sliding across my face, piercing into my bare skin like a million needles. I frowned looking down at the white snow. That was the only noise in the forest, only me… still miles and miles, away from my dear, dear mother.
The next day, I got up pretty early, I woke up because of the flaming bright sun was stabbing my eyes with its warming rays. I checked for my sack, took out a loaf of bread, and munched on it. Still waking up from my dreadful sleep, I slowly got up, checked for the moss to see in which direction it was growing east, south, north, or west. And I kept on walking. After about 5 straight hours of walking, my legs were hurting, and my stomach was doing cartwheels, but I kept on walking , knowing a few more days, and I would be with my mother, at home, safe, with all the danger behind me .
Following the sun down, I stopped finding a ditch and feasting on my bread. I found a small body of water, cupping my hands and scaring away the thirst, I gulped it down, thanking God for how far I’ve gotten so far. Every day the winter was getting harsher and harsher, which made it more difficult to travel day after day.
After a few days of walking, I found a village, not knowing if it was safe to enter or not. I could see the white soldiers, armed with weapons that could kill a black man like me, with ease. I could see all the white men and all the pretty white ladies dancing, laughing, and having a good time. If I went into the village, I would be possibly killed, or made a slave again. And if I went into the forest, I could possibly starve and die. But in my heart I knew, I would rather die alone, freezing, and starving, than be killed by a white person or be made a slave. So, I pushed all the difficulties out of my mind and went around the forest. The weather was cold and I was getting a frost bite around my nose. I was truly scared, no, not of the death, not at all. I was scared of never seeing my mother again, never listening to her beautiful songs, never touching the walls of my home, and never being free. I was truly, truly scared...
The next week, things got worse. I was cold, I was running out of food, and I was losing hope on survival, more and more every day. One day, a white man saw me, and pulled out his shot gun, pointing it at me and telling me to get on the ground and put my hands up, or he would have to shoot me. I told him to do it… never will I be mistreated again, or treated like my live worth nothing. Just because I’m black, does not mean I should be treated any different than whites. I told him the whole story of why I was in the woods and why I ran away from my owner. I think he understood me, so he let me go. I was very grateful to him. This man even gave me a loaf of bread, and a new pair of shoes, because my old ones were wearing off at the bottom.
As I kept on walking, I saw a settlement which looked somewhat familiar. But I lost hope, thinking I was just unlucky, until I heard a beautiful voice that sounded like an angel. It immediately touched my heart. I knew it was my mother. As I looked around the neighborhood, I saw her. She was folding clothes, and singing my favorite song, about Mary, and little Jesus. I looked at her, almost scared to walk up to her; I could feel tears rolling down my face, almost burning into my cheeks. I realized how much I missed her and how much I missed my home. I walked around the corner, and called out “Ma”. She turned around looking straight at me, her jaw dropped open, she started crying “Son! Oh Dear Son!!!! Arnold!”, my mom screamed, and ran to me, hugging me. Both of us were crying in each other’s arms. It felt so good to be home. Later that night, we sat and talked, as I greeted all my little brothers and sisters. If I was outside, with no walls surrounding me, but with my family around me, I would feel like I was home. Later that year, slavery was outlawed. That was the happiest day for the black community.
I have a family of my own now, and I’m 67 years old, but never will I forget about the story, of my escape back home to my mother. I sit, remembering it now, telling it to my kids, living in the free USA. God Bless It.

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