The woman walked over to Merry. Merry stared up at her, nearly overwhelmed by the painful questions and powerful emotions racing through her nine-year-old mind.
This was her mother? The woman she hadn’t seen since she was not even three years old? The woman who had left her and Johnson when they were both still in diapers down in Locust Grove with their grandmother to go up North with her new Army husband to get a good job and build a better life? The woman who had promised to send for her and Johnson just as soon as she got on her feet and settled?
Merry didn’t know how to feel. She had convinced herself that she would never meet this woman that now stood before her. This woman called Excellent. Her momma’s first born. The oldest of nine brothers and sisters. The first to exodus North to the land of milk and honey. And the only one to leave her children behind.
Merry held out her hand to introduce herself, her fingers slightly trembling.
“Nice to meet you.”
Excellent gasped. Tears rolled down her face as she gingerly shook her daughter’s small hand.
“Nice to meet you, too, Merry.”
Excellent’s hand was warm and soft. Her fingers were trembling, too. She knelt down in front of Merry and tenderly moved the hair out of her face. Merry inhaled her mother’s sweet scent. She smelled good. Like violets.
“You got so big. So pretty.”
Merry wanted to say thank you, but couldn’t. Johnson, in a quiet but sure voice, spoke for her.
“You real pretty, too.”
“Oh, thank you, Baby. Such a big, handsome boy. Come here.”
Excellent reached for Johnson and he ran to her, wrapping his arms around her neck so tight, she could hardly breathe. Slowly, Merry joined the embrace. Excellent rocked her children in her arms. Her heart so full, she sobbed.
“I got good news. I came here to get you today. You comin’ home to Detroit with me.”
“We gone live wit’ you and Auntie Teenie?”
“Well…Teenie don’t live with me anymore…”
“Whut happened wit’ you and Teenie?”
“Had tuh be somethin’, you kicked her out…”
“I didn’t kick her out, Momma. Teenie left. Now, I didn’t come here today to talk ’bout her. I’m takin’ Merry and Johnson. Got it all arranged.”
“You a lie. We ain’t got nothin’ ‘ranged.”
“But in yo’ letter, you said…”
“We ain’t got nuthin’ tuh talk ’bout, you hear me? You run off with duh first high yella nigga you see and leave these chirren under my roof tuh raise up all by mysef. Den without askin’ nobody, you come down here wit’ yo’ hand-me-down white folks clothes and fancy car and gone tell me dat you takin’ my babies? Excellent, dese babies is mine. You might of birthed ’em, but I know whut’s best fo’ ’em.”
“They my kids, Momma. I don’t need yo’ permission to take ’em.”
“I don’t give a damn, Excellent! I said dey ain’t goin’, dey ain’t goin’!”
PURCHASE THE BOOK — ADDRESS: HOUSE OF CORRECTIONS ON AMAZON
PURCHASE FOR YOUR KINDLE — ADDRESS: HOUSE OF CORRECTIONS ON KINDLE
PURCHASE THE BOOK — ADDRESS: HOUSE OF CORRECTIONS ON BARNESANDNOBLE.COM