Le Hibiscus( French for The Hibiscus, the national flower of Haiti)
This story is going to take you into a journey into three different centuries by four generations of women from three different regions
It was an dark cool Caribbean morning and there was an eerie silence of the morning of August 14 1804. It was too quiet for a matter of fact. The windows were covered with black tar that you couldn’t tell if it was night or day , it was 13 years since the revolution started , I could not remember much of how it started because I was a child still. Dessalines was determined to slaughter every remaining white planter, multoeo and slave who had sided with the plantation owners. I heard neighbors being killed by gunshots by former slaves and Dessalines army. I was frighten for me and my family Despite the darkness that covered the windows I knew that it was very early in the morning. Despite the circumstances , my father( the plantation owner), my mother( a house slave) and my four older sisters were fast asleep but I couldn’t sleep because I knew something was going to happen at this moment , I just didn’t know what. I began thinking of ways to escape the main house but nothing had come to mind. I missed the out doors, the smell of the sweet hibisus flower, that grow so wildly and bloom beautiful everyy where. I missed picking them up and making bouquets with my sisters. The sweet smell of the hibiscus, if only I can go outside .There wasn’t a secret door, no secret windows and the windows were not opening I was frighten for my life, my father’s, my mother and my sisters. There was a lot of pent up anger by many of the slaves against the plantation owners. Every door in the main house was guarded by a slave, they kept my mother, sisters and I prisoner because they consider us traitors. My father Aime Aldain was a not some evil slave owner, he treated the slaves quite well, better than any slave owner on the island , they were free do what they want, he never had them whipped nor starved them. They were well off for slaves. My mother Adele was a house slave, she was brown skin and had the features of a Arawak , my grandmother was part Arawak , she was one of the last of the native populations. My father and mother had fallen in love and he had married her in a very catholic wedding ceremony, he had promise to bring us to france so that my sisters and I could get a proper education. We were about to leave when, the slaves rose up and prevented us from leaving but that was 13 years ago, I was five, I remember only this much and since then we were fearful for our lives, there was no way we go to France now. We were stuck in this hot, humid tropical weather that only cooled during the wee mornings and evenings. I was afraid they were going to kill us . I was not afraid for only my father, but for my mother and myself because we were considered traitors.
A stood up quietly and gathered my shoes and step towards the door where the same nigh guard stood
he was not a guard but a boy . he was a boy despite his use of a gun and he was kind to us despite the beginnings of the revolution, despite the hatred towards us by the other slaves. He did have a hint of anger in his eyes like the other slaves but of loyalty. He always tried to get me what I wanted and needed. As I slowly approached him, he looked around to see if there were other guards around and he saw two talking and another sleeping down the hall way taking a nap. When the coast was clear, he relax, in a comforting way and smiled. “wat, yuh want Mistress” Yuh up early” and I said I need to go to the bathroom. “ I was thinking that I needed to get out of this room so that I could stretch my legs.
Ah let me see if I could get one of the other guards to take you” and he look around and saw another guard his name was Jacques. This angel of mery called out this Jacques “ Jacques come the mistress need to go to the bathroom”
Jacques made it to the room and ask Alban wat is it yuh want” the guard who’s name that I finally known as Alban said “ Mistress Alix wants to use the bathroom, can you take her as I have to guard the rest.
Jacques with his harded face replied No she can do it right there”
“ and I said “ Please sir I need to go” I was pleading
“ and came but to me and slapped me so hard that my lips started to bleed and I felt like there was a bruise of his hand against my face.
“ Please I said Pleading with him”
And he slapped me again
And for once I could understand some of the pain that the slaves had felt but my father was kindly slave owner, he had never whipped his slaves but I forget he never freed them. I understood somehow this was our punishment
My mother was a traitor in his people’s eyes, I was a traitor though I had nothing to do and I pleaded again
“ Please “
“ No you filthy selfish brat” If you have to go bad do it here and that’s final. Jacques said it loud so that Alban can hear.
“ dat’s fine , he said I will take her, Jacques can you at least guard the rest while I take her.
Well hurry up the army will be soon coming to finished up the tasks, there is rumors of French, Spanish , American and British ships out there ready to save the white devils but they won’t by the time they come , there will not one single white devil left Soon our task will finish, looking at me with a smirk.
“Why wasn’t I told this” asked Alban,
Were yuh payin attention Desslaines wants to purify the island, wants to get rid of the white skin
Well alright, I goin and take her to bathroom, take up my posts. And he took me by my foreman gently and took me down the hall of the main house. I thought to myself, they are going to kill me and my family. I thought to myself I need to escape. Alban took me to the down hall of the house, he had a gun pointed at the back of me and lead me outside, and I saw the outside for the first time in days, I saw outside, I wondered why he was letting me outside , I was could smell the scent of death and the outside was gloomy and I could see the dead white overseers, and when I saw this I became scared for my life and my family.
Alban lead me to a down passing the dead and bringing further into the plantation area and we arrive to a his hut on the plantation, at that this moment he was going to kill me but then he said to me softly Mistress Alix, I have heard there are American and British ships near by, I can help you esappe, your father had plan for the family to escape but its only one of you can, I have gathered all the jewels and money I can from him to help you escape, he says he has a brother in Boston, you can go.
“ No I said, I want to help my family, my mother, my sisters and my father”
“He looked at me saddened and said if you must escape , it is now , there is no time to help the rest of your family, and when he said that we heard gunshots coming from the main house , we heard screams and there was a dead silence and then we knew we had to leave. Alban gathered his things and my things and we secretly hurrily went into a carriage that was hidden and as soon as we went former slaves started came out and shooting at us. We rode away as quickly as we could until we reach the Spanish border of Santo Domingo, where Spanish troops were patrolling to prevent Dessalines from entering that teriority. When arriving in Santo Domingo, there were American ships in the terriority’s ports and Alban who had a sister in New Orleans and I who was going to meet my father’s brother in Boston, headed on the American ship. Alban was free, I had survived but I grieved for my family, who had no time to escape, I thought of my mother who was deemed a traitor by her own people, I thought of my father who was a kindly plantation owner who was punished because of his people’s cruelty. I thought of the slaves who had centuries of anger and bitterness and all they wanted was freedom, I thought of the slaves deeply, I thought of my people the mulatoes who were torn between their father’s people and their mother’s people. Many things were lost, innocence, evil, lives there was a stench of death but at least the slaves got what they wanted freedom but at what cost, what would become of Saint-Domingue, only time will tell, the blacks were free, and I was going to start a new life in Boston.
For the first time since that revolution started, I felt numb, unsure of what the future hold but I guess in Boston I will find out. I took out the pink hibiscus flower that i picked in Santo Domingue and smelled it, At least I have this and the memories Good bye sweet Saint Dominque, Adieu, Adieu, Adeui. I said smelling the flower, Adieu, Adieux, Adieu, seeing no more the land. Adieu St Dominque.