"Peaches Has Plans"
by Miranda Bowden
Peaches stood in the entryway scratching away at the fleas that were making their way deep inside the lining of the Sunday dress that clung too tightly to her sweaty skin. The screen door slapped against the frame behind her, blown by a wind she could no longer feel.
He stared at her eyes, wondering if she was serious, his gaze moving towards the small suitcase she gripped tightly, then further down to the shoes she’d taken from his wife’s closet. “Stop that damn scratching.” His voice frightened her, her arm dropping to her side, shaking, as she pushed away the impulse to return her nails to her wounds. A slow bead of blood drying quickly in the heat, another small scab that would ruin her ‘good looks’ and her ‘creamy peach skin’. “Peaches, you aren’t leaving, so I suggest you return my wife’s shoes and go back to the kitchen where you belong.” Peaches’ eyes dropped low, searching for strength in the old oak wood floor she stood firmly upon, its creases and scars showing years of wear, yet shining from the care she and the other slaves bestowed upon it each day. She straightened her back, her eyes meeting his, suddenly surprised at the power she derived from this decision to own her destiny.
“Sir, thank you. Thank you for everything you have done for me and to me. You have made my life’s worries minor to your wants. You taught me, to control me, not expecting my mind to form opinions and decisions of their own. I’ve held your children in my arms and worn their punishments on my back. I’ve nursed your wounds only to watch you inflict them on others. I’ve bowed at your feet as you kicked dust in my face and eaten less than you’ve discarded to the dogs. I’ve laid where the pigs lay and slept in the dirt. I held my brother while he died, and watched his body burn for your warmth. I cleaned my own father’s blood from the apples that fell from the tree where he was hung as a reminder that we, WE are nothing more than property. But we don’t belong here, or to you. Matter of fact, WE – I belong to me.
Where, Sir, is the respect I deserve? Where, Sir, is the wanting desire of your heart to allow me to be free? Where, Sir, do you even see me? Never mind. Please don’t dare to answer any of this. I have plans, Sir. I have some place to be. I have dreams that seek my soul’s attention and they aren’t waiting around much longer for me. I have plans, Sir, to be at heaven’s door someday with a whole lot more than this suitcase and my scars and hopes and dreams. I have plans to have stories and adventures, a life much more than this life seems that it ever could or will be. I have plans to hold another one’s hand as we walk our own path, and not be running for some hole or tree to hide from your wrath. I have plans. I have a heart, as useless as that may seem to you. I have wonder and an imagination that once explored will be fulfilled. I have a life that is demanding the use of my free will and I want to be ME. I want to plant seeds in the hearts of my own children, my flesh and blood who will walk in my steps – so I know I must step carefully. Yes, Sir, I have plans. I have some place to be. So you will excuse me now if I don’t go back to that kitchen of yours, but instead take my leave, Sir, ‘cause I have plans.