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Maxine E Thompson

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Hostage of Lies
Saturday, November 21, 2009  9:59:00 PM

by Maxine E Thompson

A tale of family secrets, generational curses, and redemption.

Nefertiti turned to the back of the Bible and found the family tree. From what she saw this was her father’s side of the family. Killsprettyenemy, the youngest son, had been Reverend’s father. Bryce had been Rev’s and Tiger’s paternal grandfather, and Theo was one of his older sons. She took her finger and traced the family tree. If Bryce was her father and Uncle Tiger’s grandfather, he would have been her great-grandfather. Shilo would have been her great-great grandfather. Samson would have been her great-great-great grandfather..
Nefertiti’s hands trembled and an electrical current coursed through her blood. It was too mind boggling to absorb all at once! This was a page from a piece of her unknown history. A piece of her ancestors.
Then Nefertiti began to dig some more. Underneath the bottom layer of the trunk was a quilt. Patterns of horses had been stitched on it. Nefertiti lifted the quilt in her hand, feeling herself tied to something valuable, something of the past. The material was so old some of the rotting threads began to fray in her hand.
She now knew the taste of victory the archaeologists from Ike’s Internet assignment must have felt when they discovered a fossil. This was even better. This letter was a fossil from her bloodline. Nefertiti returned to digging through the trunk. Finally, she found what she was looking for when a folded piece of paper fell out of the Bible. Nefertiti unfolded it.
She was thinking of the “great secret,” which Isaac had alluded to, and now here it was. It was just a piece of paper, but its power made her fall to her knees.
It was the original birth certificate for her little girl. The certificate did not name the father of the Negro baby girl. Because she was underage at the time, and the laws for statutory rape were more strictly enforced, Nefertiti remembered never naming the father. Yet Rev and them had known. During those days, the baby was called “illegitimate” and the father’s name was not put on the birth certificate if you were not married. Other than the first name, Desiree, her daughter had no name.
Nefertiti was surprised she did not cry anymore. She didn’t know what she felt. Still, the years came rushing back to her with a sharp jab. The “secret” she’d harbored all these years, until she sometimes didn’t even speak it in her most inward parts. And the horror of her choice began to sink in like an underground river.
Besides being her baby, this wasn’t just any baby she’d given away. This was a baby of African descent. Born in America. A baby with a legacy of children being sold away from their mothers. A baby with a history of an ancestor being beaten to death while her infant was still in the thick harbor of her womb. A baby who had a deep connection to her ancestors. She had to find Desiree, no matter what happened. Even if Desiree spit in her face. Nefertiti knew she had to try. She knew then that she was about to embark on the deepest journey of her life.
The words, “It’s like a curse on your family when you don’t know where your kinfolk is,” seared an indelible brand into her brain.

Black Butterfly Press

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