We’s cried together as the sun lit the mornin’sky.
“Now I’ain’t sure if’en they’ll want help,” Mama said. The sun was up when we got to town. There was so many White folk movin’ round , goin’ about they’s day most ain’t interested in two colored gurl. “But we’ll see.”
I’s nodded as we walk through town. Mama told me on the long walk that we be goin’ to the general store to have a talk with Mr. Washington. He owns the only store for miles around. It was located on the other side of town. White and Colored alike come to his store to shop for goods.
There were all kinds of things goin’ on in town, things I ain’t never seen be ‘for. Men and women in fancy clothes walked the streets, while men sold remedies out of horse-driven carts. Colored women in lose fitting clothes waved at men passin’ by from the window of a house. “Come taste my wares,” they’d yelled. I asked Mama what they’s selling but she ain’t say. My stomach rumbled at the smell of chicken fryin’in the air as a horse tried nibblin’ at my hair. Mama shooed it away and kept me walkin’.
There’s so much that caught my eyes, all so excitin’ to see, but we ain’t stop walkin’ to look see. But this a’here ain’t my first time in town.
I’s come with Mama and Papa back when I’s was no bigger than Cory, my little sister. Papa ain’t wurk for near two weeks and Mama full with child.
Papa want me to come.
“ Sadie, should’ve left the gurl home!” Papa said, when we’s stopped again. I’s was tried of walkin’.
“We’s ain’t got no one to sees after her.” Mama took my hand. “When we’s in town, do what Papa say Syreet, be a big girl now.” She wiped my tears and we’s walk on.
“What a cute pickaninny,” Mr. Washington say pattin’ my head. I’s jerk away and went to Mama, she held but ain’t sayin’ nothin’. Papa say white folk do as they’s please, best kept your mouth.
I clung to Mama’s knee, watchin’ while they’s ask Mr. Washington for credit. I ain’t like his eyes, like they’s ain’t got no light in them. Don’t remember all that Mr. Washington said to Papa that day, but I’s remember Papa smilin a lot.
I’s was cold, tried, and hungry when we’s walkin’ back home, but proud cause Papa said I’s a big girl now that I knows how to act in town.
That was the year Mama loss my first baby sister.
Copyright © 2013 Glynis Rankin