One afternoon I was baking some bread in my new kitchen, when Julius knocked on the kitchen door. I had been [privately] pressing him on his stories, asking him what is real and what is not. I was also fascinated with his memory — how could he possibly remember all of these stories, with such detail, by heart?
When I welcomed him into the kitchen, I noticed the book in his hand. The book was very small and worn, with tears along the binding. The book was bent, as if he had tried to fold it as small as he possibly could. As if he had previously tried to hide it.
“What do you have there Julius?”
“Is jus mah book missus.”
“Is a notebook missus.”
“Do you write in it?” I asked walking over to him. He handed me the book. Flipping through the pages, the handwriting was hardly legible, but he could definitely read and write. “Julius, who taught you how to write?”
“Well missus, mah formah massuh’s wife wuz ver kind to meh. She tawt meh how to read n write. When tha massuh caught me n her readin n writin, he beat me n her real bad and i hadda burn da books. I kep all but one of em.”
I was hurt by his story — how could someone get beaten for reading and writing? And they call themselves Christians.
That afternoon I went into town. I told John I was going to pick up another book at the bookshop, and I decided to get one for Julius as well. I picked up a bible for Julius, and while I did want him to read the bible, and I figured John wouldn’t have a problem with Julius reading the bible either. I also picked up this new book called, Little Women for my own pleasure. The woman at the bookshop said it’s just marvelous.
When I delivered the book to Julius, he was beyond grateful. It made me happy to see him so happy. Perhaps he can create some stories of his own with inspiration from the bible. Perhaps then John will actually listen to him.