My Friend Came To Visit My Family But I Don’t Think Mama Will Ever Let Her Leave

July 15, 1989

Sandra is staying in my room. I cleared out a few drawers in my dresser so she could put her clothes away even though she said she didn’t need them. Mama teaches us to be kind to others, to sacrifice what you have so they can have too. Sandra kept saying she didn’t need a drawer, she could just use her suitcase, but I waited until she went to the bathroom and unpacked for her.

She met Mama first. Mama came out on the porch when she arrived and greeted her with a big hug. She kissed Sandra’s cheek and said “We’re so happy to have you here, Sandra.” That was nice, but that’s how Mama is, and I could tell Sandra really needed some niceness. She pretended to be embarrassed and thanked Mama very politely. Mama liked that. She prides us on our good manners.

Mama introduced Sandra to my brothers and sisters. I kept quiet because I could tell Mama wanted to make a very good impression.

First Sandra met Gloria, working away at her sewing machine with that scrunched up face she makes. Gloria is the oldest so she gets to pick her chores but I don’t know why she always picks sewing. Sewing hurts my hands.

After Gloria was Jacob. He was chopping firewood in the back yard, stockpiling for when it gets cold. In the winter it gets very, very cold, and I am very happy that Jacob chops the wood for us when December comes and I’m warming my chilly fingers by the fire.

Jacob stopped chopping wood to say hello. He was all sweaty, wiping at his forehead with his knuckles and panting heavy. Sometimes Jacob works himself too hard but it’s because he wants to show Mama he can step up as the man of the house. Sandra was giving him a funny look and I think it’s because he wasn’t wearing a shirt.

Carolyn and Marceline didn’t pay Sandra much attention, but they’re real shy. I told Sandra they’d warm up to her.

The first night we stayed up late late, giggling and telling each other all the stuff that’s happened since we last saw each other at school. She was so happy at first but the more she talked the sadder she got. She said there’s lots of fighting at her house now. Yelling, crying. One time someone threw a picture frame and there was glass everywhere. When she got up the next day it hadn’t been cleared away and Sandra stepped on a shard, cutting her heel very badly. She showed me the bottom of her foot. It was an awful cut. It looked like it hurt a lot.

I hugged her for a long time and told her what was in my heart, because Mama always says we must say what is in our hearts. I told her I was glad she came.

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