This year of our Lord 1830 marks the beginning of my new life. I am one of fifty-seven black emigrants sailing from Norfolk, Virginia, to Liberia, in West Africa. We’ve been at sea for over forty days, and since crossing the Tropic of Cancer, the heat has intensified, making our quarters in steerage unbearable. On clear nights, I abandon my bunk and sleep on deck with other men who stretch out, shoulder to shoulder, on any available flat surface. The smells of the hold cling to our bodies, our clothes, and I welcome the winds from the sea that cleanse my nostrils.
I step down from the hatch where I’ve spent the night and make my way to the bow of the ship. A damp shroud of fog envelopes me and I revel in the cool it brings to my sun-dried skin. The fog lifts and a sliver of light breaks the horizon line. The grey sky of dawn streaks with crimson and gold as the sun rises in front of me. I gasp as a low, flat shoreline is backdropped by the kaleidoscope of brilliant color. I am overwhelmed by this spectacular revelation of land after so many days at sea.
I throw my head back and raise my arms to the sky in celebration. I am finally within reach of the land of my birth, and of my future. My journey home is no longer just a dream.
(Written for a-to-z-challenge.com)