Late one night during that ricing season some relatives drove up to Dorothy's house. Wilson and Dorothy went outside to talk to them. I stayed inside knowing it was none of my business. From the window I could hear Savannah screaming and crying, "I want my mom! I want my mom!"
Annie was gone again, drinking, and no one wanted the responsibility of keeping the girls. Poor Savannah, she knew that no one really wanted her and Candis, so she screamed for her mom to let her aunts and uncles know that she didn't want them either. I'm not sure who finally took the girls or where they went, but they didn't stay at Dorothy's.
Ricing was almost over.
"My dad said this will be the last time we rice together," Wilson told me ruefully.Walter had a feeling and just "knew" this was the last time. His dad wouldn't come out and say something like that unless it was true.
At home, Wilson’s daughter Cheri had stopped coming on the weekends. She spent time with her friends instead. I was sorry she didn't want to see us but also secretly relieved and even more relieved when Misty also quit coming. The fewer kids to take care of, the easier the weekends were. Besides, we never really went anywhere anymore, except to visit my family, and Wilson didn't go with us. It was easier the fewer children I had.
We were hearing from Junior and Joy that Cheri and Misty were running around. The little ones also said that their mother was paying the older girls to steal cigarettes from their corner store.
Sitting on the warm sidewalk with Junior and Joy one morning, I wondered why I was hanging around. Why couldn't I just walk away?
Suddenly, Joy looked up at me, smiled, and asked a question. Junior laughed at her question, and I hugged them both.
Maybe God wants me to stay here for them.