In the Vegetable Room

“It’s a debt I must pay. I have accepted that. If I get to speak to you only this once, I am not interested in telling my story, but another. May I?…Two beautiful girls and a handsome little boy were subjected to this. The oldest, my what a beauty she was! Truly, the most gorgeous young girl I’ve ever seen. Well… you know what they did with her. She was still positive through the pain of physical and sexual abuse. She’d say with a dulling smile, ‘At least they’ve given me my own room.’ And her glow would fade everyday, but her beauty lasted. The other little girl and boy were made to peel vegetables and stack and sort boxes for more than eighteen hours a day. I, too old to do much else, was forced to join them. They were less bright than their older sister, but maybe just too young to understand that they were slaves. They were here with me for about six months until one day, a man came for all three of them. The young ones’ eyes lit up with recognition. The girl said, ‘Father?’ And the man picked her up

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