It all started the day Father came home with two new people, he called them slaves, I preferred to call them servants or Father’s workers. I was in my bedroom doing some English homework. English was my favourite subject, perhaps because it was actually hard, not tedious like my other school subjects. Maths and science came naturally to me and I needed little effort to be good at the humanities. At the age of twelve I had asked Mother to send me to boarding school in America or England, but she said she loved me too much to send me away.
“Xiang!” called my Father; I left my pen on my desk and jogged down the stairs.
“Yes Sir?” I asked, he was alone in the hallway,
“If you cannot go to America, then America will come here,” he smiled,
“Father?” I asked,
“Go and look in the kitchen,” he said,
“But Father, the kitchen is only for the servants!” I cried in horror. I had been a curious boy at the age of six, it was then when he began to bring in workers. It had become an obsession of his ever since, but at first I was elated that new people had joined our household. That very same day I had gone into the kitchen of our new house to say hello. It was all harmless but later when Father had found out he had been furious. I had been banned from interaction with the ‘lower-classes’ as he called them. I came back to reality,
“Go Xiang!” he said pushing me away. I obeyed and opened the kitchen door timidly; two people were sat at the kitchen table eating. They did not see me as I ducked back into the hall, Father was gone and I sighed in relief. Being an only child -due to the one child policy- meant I was rubbish at interacting with other people, especially people my age. Inside the kitchen had been a boy and a girl, of about 16 years.
I ran back to my bedroom and locked the door. Instead on continuing my English homework I began to draw what I had seen. Aside from English, art was my favourite subject. I sketched the kitchen, which I had never seen before so I wasn’t sure I had got it right. I sketched the boys brown hair and green eyes, and I made sure the girl had beautiful big eyes, like all western people had. I coloured her red hair, she was really beautiful, it was a shame our culture had already affected her looks by the way she dressed in Chinese clothes and had a similar native hairstyle. I finished my drawing and put it away in my drawer; I locked the drawer and then hid the key. That was my drawer; no servant was getting in there. I smiled and lounged on my bed reading a book, there was a knock on my door and I sat up, the cleaner was here. I opened the door and left her to clean my room as I went back downstairs; I saw my Mother and smiled at her,
“Hello Mother,” I nodded towards her, she smiled back,
“Your Father has hired two American servants,” she said happily, “You may practise your English on them,” I nodded,
“I shall thank Father now,” I said heading to his office,
“Father,” I said knocking on the door,
“Come in!” he called; I obeyed and walked down the carpet to his desk. “Good evening,” he smiled.
“Send those American slaves back,” I said,
“What?” he spat,
“I don’t want them here, they are effecting the Chinese culture,” I said. The truth was I knew more than my Father did about universal affairs, I knew the two of them hadn’t signed up for this,
“The girl has already dressed into suitable clothing,” he added,
“That doesn’t matter, they do not belong here. Father you know the slave trade is illegal in the west,”
“It is in the east son, but we are better at hiding it!”
“They are from the west, we could get caught and you could go to prison.”
“What are you implying? I am a criminal?”
“You will be, keeping these two American’s here!” I retorted,
“Xiang!” my father roared, “They will stay!” he threw a pen pot at me, it crashed against my head, the pens flew everywhere.
“Yes Sir,” I nodded and backed away. My Father’s temper was unpredictable and I was pleased he took it out worse on the servants; I scurried back to my bedroom and locked the door again. Finally I felt safe. My Father wasn’t the most honest of men, communism had come into the country in 1949 but Father's Father had bribed the government not to take away his fortune and so he was one of the richest Chinese men in existence. He was able to control almost everything and one day that inheritance would pass on to me. Truthfully I was dreading it.