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Same Blood

Houghton Mifflin
        1989

Ballantine Books
 February, 1990

Excerpt:

Part One,
Chapter 1


Page 13

don’t give up.” Now she’s seen a lot of kids, Daddy, and she said that Bubby ain’t like others. He ain’t like a kid, he’s like a man. Sweats like a man, too. Why he goes through two, three shirts a day. Me, I don’t know no other kids. You know I never took to ’em, couldn’t stand babysittin’ like Sharon done for money.

Them three weeks Bubby cried I knowed by my belly I was breakin’ him, the little Bubby layin’ there half an hour old that run under my feelin’s like a bed of rock. Every day I knowed it was bein’ chipped away, the muscle holdin’ us together gut to gut like them steel cables on the Poughkeepsie Bridge. We was breakin’ and I didn’t like it. My tits hurt so by five o’clock, I could barely talk or stand straight and it wouldn’t let up till Bubby’d sucked over an hour. They wouldn’t dry up like decent tits would. Marilyn, she said they would. That we’d both git used to the new schedule. But every day they’d bulge up outa my bra hard and I’d go into Mrs. Butler’s bathroom and squeeze the milk into the sink though I had to lean way in ’cause it sprays out everywhere.

It’s goin’ on August, five and a half months of workin’ and it ain’t let up for me, the pains in my gut gotten so bad, I’m down to 102. Marilyn, she says it’s better now ’cause Bubby ain’t so attached. That it ain’t healthy bein’ so attached to the mother comin’ on three. But I don’t see it. Bubby don’t trust me like he used to. He gits mad at nothin’ at all, just touchin’ his food, he blurts out, “I mad you,” and points his finger at my head ’cause that’s his gun. Sometimes I know he’s just lookin’ for fun and feels big sayin’ it but most times he means it and screams and keeps it up no matter what faces I make, he says, “You bad, you bad.”

I hate it, makes me feel I ain’t doin’ enough though I git so tired after work it don’t matter what I feel. That’s when I lay back on the couch and watch Bubby run his cars and trucks and talk to hisself. It ain’t just the policeman he’s got in them cars, it’s a whole slew of people. He met Mrs. Butler ’cause I had to work extra for her on Sunday and couldn’t git no one to take care of him, Adele was gone. So I told Bubby straight, “Yer

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