Nellie Shaw could still hear clearly her old mother’s words of advice prior to her passing two weeks earlier.
“Leave this place, Honey. Take those two precious babies and leave for good. Give them a chance in life. Let them see something different. I’ve prayed you all would leave.”
Nellie knocked on the door.
Miriam opened it. She was Claude Parrish’s only sister. Claude was the father of Nellie’s two children.
“Oh, it's you,” Miriam said. “I guess you want Claude.”
“Yes, please. Ask him to step out here if you would,” Nellie said.
Nellie stood on the wooden front porch waiting for Claude in the chill of the Philly night. She shivered a little.
“What is it, Woman? What you want?” Claude said.
“To see you a few seconds. Say bye,” Nellie said.
“We’re leaving this city tonight, Claude. The state too.”
“You’re crazy, Nellie. That’s what you are.” Claude said. “Where you going?”
“Santa Fe, New Mexico. I got a friend or two there.”
Claude spit like a football player off to one side of the porch.
“Friend? Your friends are here, Nellie. You know that. You’ll be back.”
“We won’t be back, Claude. Maybe we’ll starve out there, but we won’t be back.”
“You best find a place to get out of this night air,” Claude said, closing the front door in Nellie’s face.
The young mother turned and for the last time began walking away from the Parrishes’ ugly house.