seventy-eight         

            I miss de chillen dis mo'nin', won'erin' who gwon care fo' dem now Jewel gone. 'Pose dey aw go back to runnin' wile. Wisht I could a tol' 'em leas' goodbye. No time... no time. It pain me dat dem likely feels I lef' 'em high an' dry, pain me awful—'specially since dey treat me same 's if I deir mammy. Know jus' how it feel when a body's mammy gone—an' I 's full-growed; gots be worse fo' younguns. 'Part from dem an' Éclair—I missin' Éclair, too—dese de happies' days o' my whole life. Zach'ry been so kine! Don' har'ly let me lif' my li'ly finger, ack like pregnan' gals bus' ope' dey so much 's stoop. Kine o' funny, in a way, kine o' sweet way him so ignoran' 'bout women. Wouldn' be su'prise' him think gals puff' up cain't have sex. Sho look aw het up, him do, like a fence' in stallion.

            Hot today. Feel like de ver' air be sweatin', aw clammy an' full o' smells. Fo'ks grow rice in dese parts; de fiel'han's sloshin' 'roun' knee-deep in watah. An' "whew" dat stan'in' watah sen' up a stink. 'Pose fo'ks get use' to it. Seem nuffin' in dis life fo'ks—'specially colourt fo'kscain't get use' to. Mayhap dat what save us in de en'; day to day survivin'. Mayhap dat bring freedom; to aw dem can wait.