I stand at attention… waiting. My brother appears at the top of the stairs. He is stunning enough to be almost considered beautiful. His bronze skin and dark curls are highlighted by the white ruffled shirt and velvet jacket. His dark eyes narrow almost imperceptibly as he scans through and past me.
He is dazzling and everyone goes out of their way to be near him. He knows how to flatter and his words are sweet and smooth as honey.
I know my place and my place is at the door of the great house. As far as my owners are concerned, that’s the reason for my whole existence. But I feel more than that and my anger surges at the acceptance of my brother who is part of the family because he can pass. You see, we have the same mother, but different fathers.
As I watch my brother descending the great staircase, a shock runs through me as two names converge in the same space. The names Richard/Victor at the same time layered one on top of the other. How can one person hold two names?
I slip back to current time and look down at my white hands. I look at the young, blonde woman staring back from the mirror. I know without a doubt that this is a past life recollection. And it was triggered by betrayal. Someone whom I considered a friend was in reality, false.
Richard in this life, Victor in the previous, is playing the same game he learned then. He is pretending to be someone else. Still with his honey words and good looks, I understand and am sad. He has not grown or learned anything from the other times he walked this earth.
This is not fiction. This is a memory. It’s something I remember from living in another time, another place. And that time was as a black man who was a slave.