As Irene came upon the quarters she witnessed something she hadn't in a long time: Joy! There was a fire pit in the middle of the slave quarters that emitted a vast amount of light.
Young women and men locked arms and danced while an older man played his banjo. She followed Mama Ju and Ida over to a group of women sitting on the porch on one of the cabins. "This here Irene.
She been working up to the house and kitchun", Mama Ju greeted. There were three women sitting on the porch. Mama Ju introduced the women who were Janie, Katie Lee, and Laura Mae.
She learned that these women among the others worked in the fields.
She knew it had to be back-breaking work for she knew if she was tired by the end of the day, she couldn't imagine what it was like for them.
Before the women could drown her in questions, a tall, dark, and slender man offered his hand for a dance. Reluctant, but in the mood Irene accepted.
she made her way to where the people were dancing, she could hear the women in the back "ooouu that chile.......".
The people around started doing the ring a' round dance where each couple locked arms and went in circles. As they started, their pace went in a steady beat.
For a brief moment Irene locked eyes with this unknown man and just for that moment she felt somewhat comfort in his eyes. The dance ended and the man walked her over to the group of women.
The man smiled and looked her in the eyes saying "My name is Johnny, most everyone round here just call me John".
Irene's heart fluttered for that moment and when he left all the woman teased her in good faith. "Guess you done got yo self a beau", Mama Ju chuckled.
All the women laughed and Irene casted her eyes downward with her mouth smiling. Shortly after, Mama Ju pulled out a loaf of bread and some left over mutton from her dress.
"Ya'll best come on over fore it all go", she called. She laid the loaf of bread and the mutton on a cloth that sat on the boards of the porch.
Everyone stood in a line as they got their serving. Despite not knowing it before, the other folk stared at her muttering to each other.
Irene asked Mama Ju as she got her food, " What is all these here people staring a'fore me for?". "They just staring cause you new, don't chu worry they'll get use to you", Mama Ju replied.
Ida came around the corner from one of the cabins giggling with an older, hefty man whom seemed to be a field hand. "It best be our time to go", Mama Ju remarked.
As the three of them left, Irene and John's eyes linked as he entered one of the cabins. She wondered " Could he really be for me, only time will tell".