The stallion's hooves clatter against the hard stone pavement. I am on my way to my new 'home'. I have left behind everything I have known.
My instincts tell me that this will be a new beginning. I can only pray that it is.
"You are deep in thought. What clouds your mind?" My new master, Mr. King, asks. He is quite young, perhaps in his early thirties.
"Nothing, sir." I reply, and he raises an eyebrow.
"I see you are unwilling to speak your mind. You find yourself in an awkward predicament, do you not?"
I give no reply, although he is right. How can I express myself to a stranger who bought me as if I were an object in a market?
He sighs and closing his eyes, rests his head against the carriage wall. I look outside the window, and see wheat fields rush past in one endless golden sea.
Am I happy? Sad? Distraught?
I don't know. I don't know what to feel. It is as if every emotion I have experienced has been gathered into a single ball from which I cannot distinguish which emotion is prominent. I let the empty void engulf me.
Having nothing else to do, I play with my hair, braiding and loosening it. Braid, loosen. Braid, loosen.
“You are bored.” Mr. King’s voice interrupts my actions. “Here, you can read this. It’s a good book.”
He extends his hand with a book in it.
“Pride and Prejudice.” I read the title out loud. I can read, although we received no formal education in the orphanage.
“Go on, read it. It’s one of my favorite books.”
I take it without meeting his eyes. Is he playing nice? Does he genuinely want to help me out?
I cannot be sure. All I can do is to be cautious and hope that everything goes well. Most people take such opportunities as a new adventure to embark on, with a positive mindset. But for me, this is no adventure. This is going to be merely a continuation of my life in the orphanage.
A continuation of the loneliness and misery I suffered for six years.