The Bolita man just left. The man always talks too much. Here I sit with all this washing to get done and that man has to come a-knocking on my door. I donít believe in gambling and I tell him that every time he shows up here Ė which is once a week, right after payday at the Naval Yard because he knows folks has got the money then for such foolishness. Heís sweet on little Jo Ė thatís how come he talks so blame much. Damn Bolita man. I tell him every week that Jo is only twelve years old and she sure as hell wouldnít take up with a scraggly little Cuban man selling lottery tickets.
Thatís a lie, actually. The only reason I know Jo wouldnít take up with the likes of him is because I know she is smitten with my boy, Ernest. Not that I approve of that match either, mind you. Ernest just turned twenty and has been off these six months in London, England. He looks so smart in his Air Force uniform. I guess I can understand why Jo is so taken with him.
My boy came home yesterday. He came a-strutting down the back alley of our house on Watson Street looking like his Daddy used to look when he would come home from hunting, all puffed up with pride and knowing how good he looked. I still ache inside remembering the loss of that man. And I ache even more with the loss to Ernest of knowing his Daddy Ė Bill never even knew Ernest was coming when he died out there in them swamps.
Anyway, they donít know I was watching when Ernest turned that corner into the alley looking so fine. Jo was lending me a hand with the young-unís and had taken them out for a stroll in the carriage. She is such an itty-bitty thing but developing too damn fast in my opinion. Menís eyes take to rolling back in their damn heads whenever Josephine Garcia goes strolling by. Ernest hadnít seen that little girl for several years Ė he being off to the war and her still at least looking like a child when he left. So I watched from the window as he rounded the corner in his smart Air Force uniform, head cocked to one side and duffel bag thrown over his left shoulder. And I watched as Jo looked up from fussing with baby Tommyís diaper and caught sight of my boy coming down that alley.
I expect I knew then there was nothing I could do about it. But it worries me fearsome, I can tell you that. That little scrap of a child-woman doesnít have a chance. And neither does my boy. I saw the whole thing though they donít know it. And I done lived long enough on this world to know those two fool children done fell in love with each other and they donít even know it yet.
Well, I best get back to my washing.
K. Y. Hamilton, BA, MA - Copyright 2004, 2006