The door opened and a young woman entered. She was well tailored, and her bag was a luxury brand that I knew from before the war. The guard murmured something to her as he pulled the door closed, and she nodded.
“Miss Constanza, I am Lillian Vernon, and I’d like to ask you a few questions about your wartime activities, for the morning Messenger,” she said, speaking rapidly, pulling several items out of her bag. A notepad was set on the table, followed by a pen, an audio recorder, and a bottle of water.
“Of course,” I said duly. That was why this meeting had been arranged. I had been told by the warden, who oversaw my communication with the outside world, that this bright young reporter had thought it would be entertaining to take my story to the general public. I don’t know how she’d managed it, when I was labeled a national traitor, and was biding my time until the end, the day when the government finished what it had started. My execution day.
“First, let’s see if this is working,” she chirped, not deterred by my lack of enthusiasm. Her fingers danced over the recorded, fixing the tape and setting it into the on position. “Thirtieth of March, 1954, St. Helena’s Penitentiary for Women, beginning at 8 in the morning.” She set the receiver on the table between us. “Lillian Vernon, interviewing Ms. Victoire Constanza.”
Apparently satisfied with the results, she flipped her notebook open, and removed the cap from her pen. Looking at me fully for the first time, she seemed to grow- reinforced with professionalism, perhaps.
“First, tell me what your role was in the events of September twenty-first, 1950?” she asked, her hand ready to write.
“I was the one who burned the flag,” I said, memories flooding back. “That was our signal, you know.”
“So you were involved from the beginning?”
“No, no, I wasn’t,” I said, meeting her gaze squarely. “The beginning was longer ago than you might imagine.”
“When was the beginning, then?”
“Do you want to know about my role in the movement, or the history of the movement?” I asked abruptly. She studied me for a minute, then answered.
“I want to know your story, though clarification may be necessary.”
“The government won’t like it,” I warned.
“The government can’t stop the public from knowing the truth.”
“Then I’ll tell you my story.”