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Same Blood

Houghton Mifflin

Ballantine Books
 February, 1990


Part One,
Chapter 1

Page 4

to be reserved for God, but not the church God dealin’ out love and justice but the God who ain’t proud, the God who’s like grass, who don’t care ’bout people tramplin’ over him or gittin’ cut down, don’t give a hoot ’bout growin’.

I tried to tell myself it ain’t true, but I knew. I started gittin’ big and I tried to hide it till it was too big. I set off to work for Tappen ’cause he’s all the way out to Sweet Hollow, a mile straight up on Close Crick Road—that’s where the crick starts in a little brook. It was Adele, she’s always kept an eye out for me, it was her told me Tappen needed a worker. He’s always needin’ a worker when it’s warm, he’s got a greenhouse business and a couple acres of corn, potatoes, you name it, he’s got a few milk cows left, too. I remembered we used to play there every summer when we was kids, seemed everbody played there, though it wasn’t a nursery or nothin’. Tappen give me work in the back doin’ just ’bout anything from haulin’ boxes to diggin’ dirt. I didn’t work with no customers—I don't know names or nothin' much 'bout flowers—and no one barely saw me ’cept at the store but I wore Beulah's—Tappen's wife—I wore here coat and she's mighty big. Beulah, she seemed just the same, how she’d give all us kids playin'—didn't matter whose we was—she’d dole out the cookies, milk, sandwiches, right out the back from her kitchen door, we was never hungry there, boy.

When I started gittin’ big, that’s when I moved into the old green trailer used to be Willie Craw’s. It was pretty beat up and I was payin’ $150 a month but it was only six miles from Tappen’s so it wasn’t nothin’ to drive back and forth. Sharon, she come over once, first time in a coon’s age, and she takes one look at my belly and she got so mad she left and never called back. She said, “You ain’t fit to be a sister of mine.”

So I’m workin’ back of the greenhouse one mornin’ transplantin’ ivy geranium and I go into the john and there it is, bloody stuff in my underpants thick as snot. I didn’t have no pains yet but I knew it was up and I drove home and didn’t tell no one I was leavin’. I had the kid. I

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