Mother’s holding Delma in her skinny arms, and Dad walks toward them. He’s clenching his jaw, which makes his brown eyes look black. He looks different, like something bad is about to happen.
“What’re ye doin’, Wayne?” asks Mother. Dad doesn’t answer. He just keeps walking up to the porch.
“Wayne?” says Mother again. Dad snatches Delma right outta her arms, turns back around, and starts walking back to the car he had borrowed. Then all hell breaks loose.
“Wayne, what the hell do ye think you’re doin’?” says Aunt Nolie.
“It ain’t None of yer concern, Nola,” says Dad just as calmly as if he was taking a sack of groceries to his car instead of my whimpering baby sister.
Mother cries and pleads with him to bring Delma back. She follows on his heels, pulling on his sleeve, but he shakes her off like a horsefly. When Dad puts Delma into the car, Sis starts crying too. I know she must be as confused as we are. She never goes anywhere without Mother, and now she’s watching her Mother cry and try to get to her. She’s watching me, too. I’m helpless. I can’t move. I can’t do nothing.
Dad leaves, and I can hear my baby sister crying for me to come rescue her, but I can’t. I just stand there, holding on to Mother’s skirt. Mother’s holding on to Aunt Nolie’s arm.
“That crazy son of a bitch,” says Aunt Nolie.
“I hate his guts,” sobs Mother.
Right then and there, so do I. I hate him. He has taken my little sister and left my mother’s arms raw from the friction of loneliness.
Excerpt from No Hill for a Stepper, my father’s story