I remember the first time I said out loud those Four words that were wanting to escape my mouth and pounding loudly against it since a while back then.
“Can I study too?” I asked my master.
His daughter had been secretely teaching me Class III mathematics, just so I could do all her homework. But that wasn’t something I was “forced” to do. I loved playing with numbers and words; so much that I would sneak in to her bedroom at night and try reading her textbooks with the help of remnants from my past alphabet knowledge that Mother had given me before I was taken away from her.
I still remember that night. The hushed tones that were being exchanged between my Mother and her distant cousin I had never met before. Mother made me all my favourite dishes that night. I had been so happy then.
But what intrigued me was that she did not look me in the eyes even once that day. I did not even receive her good night kiss before sleeping.
I woke up to the rattling sound of utensils falling. The next thing I knew was that I was being forced into a van. Mother came out of the house and stood there, still and stunned. I looked at her, one last time then the van caught up with speed.
A hard slap on my face was followed by him pushing my tender body against the wall and a loud whispering into my ears,
“Stay in your fucking limits, scum. You have been born to wash our clothes, nothing more than that. So say those words again and I’ll throw you out of the house like a jetsam, get it??”
My body was subject to all his frustrations.
A tutor would come to teach my Master’s daughter. I would rush through the completion of household chores and hide behind the sofa chair, to listen to Madam teach her. She found me once, after one of her lectures and I found trust in that humble smile of hers. Once I learnt about her social work, I told her about everything. Years of abuse and hitting, my aspirations of gaining knowledge. She told me there was hope and I smiled, after a long time; merely by hearing those words.
The night had arrived. I packed all of my little number of belongings into a ragged cloth and looked outside the window, waiting for the signal I was told I would receive.
My Messiah had arrived. I opened the window carefully and quietly, making little sound. I heard some footsteps coming from my Master’s bedroom. He must have sensed some activity. I had surely been happy in the past few days. I looked back and saw his face. The expression of anger reflected through his eyes further contributing to his beast like appearance. I quickly jumped out of the window.
“What the fuck do you think you are doing??” I heard him say.
“Bitch, come back.”
I opened the front gate and ran outside, and glanced back at the house that had given me scars which would take forever to heal.
The front door of the car was kept open. I jumped inside and closed it. He came out of the house and stood there, still and stunned. And I looked at him one last time as the car caught up with speed.
I couldn’t help but relate this to the last time I saw my Mother. Only this time, I knew where I was going. And it is going to be somewhere good.