Daddy and Casa were left on their own; he reassured his youngest son that he was not in trouble and no harm would ever come to him for talking to his father.
Please, son, tell me what you saw; daddy held him tight. Casa rubbing his eyes told his father what he saw and daddy being the man he is, broke down too. He sent Casa downstairs with me and mama to help us get the grill ready for the fish we had caught earlier that day. Mama had her big pot on the stove heating up for some real mad crabs. I liked putting the crabs in the hot steam pot; the way they tried to get out made me laugh. I walked over to Casa who was standing by the grill spreading the coals out. “You okay?” I asked him. “Yeah”. I left him and went back to the pot to put some onions in the water that mama had just cut into big pieces. “Where’s daddy?” Mama asked Casa. “Oh, I think he’s still upstairs.” “Okay”, mama said. “He said he was coming right behind me.” “Let’s give him a few minutes, then I’ll go and check on him”.
Mama wanted to go upstairs right then and check on Robert, but she didn’t. She knew daddy was hurting for Mackenzie and was deciding how he should go about this. Daddy stood looking out that window for a long time. He watched as the big ships came in and then out again. He watched them until they could no longer be seen, he watched the waves swell and wear out on the beach. I had seen my father cry a few times, but not like this. It looked like he was hurt; I mean really hurt. My father’s heart was broken; he thought he could protect his family from the nastiness of this world. He had tried so hard to give us the very best he could and for this to come home was more than he could stand. And Mackenzie, he had to save that little girl from her father.
Mama had finished cooking her crabs and the fish was almost ready. I was making a salad from all the things mama had growing out back. I loved the smell of the tomatoes after mama picked them and brought them in the house. The fish was sizzling when daddy put them on the table. I was hoping to hear some stories from daddy while we ate, but nobody said much or ate much. We all were thinking about our little friend who had brought us some much fun. Mackenzie was only half Black; mama said they used to call them mulattos, but it wasn’t a nice name so me and Casa were not to call her that. Mackenzie’s father was white and not from this area. Daddy and him talked some but they didn’t really like each other. Daddy said he was fake and he didn’t really like Black people and we were to stay away from him. Mackenzie’s mother was away at some kind of hospital, mama said she was very nervous and needed to be looked after. She was from the area and her parents had died when she was young and she didn’t have any brothers or sisters. She had aunts and uncles and cousins that still lived around here, but that white man of hers had ran them off. They don’t come around much, except to see Mackenzie.
Mackenzie was always funny looking to me. Her hair was always standing straight up and it was yellow. She had freckles and green and brown eyes, she told us that she could see in the dark and around corners. She was just one of us after they moved in over there. She came over whenever she wanted and spent the night when her mother was home. She was like our funny looking sister. I think we loved her.
None of us slept much last night, I could hear mama and daddy talking most of the night. Casa slept some I think; he didn’t move much, but he never moves much. I could hear mama downstairs cooking breakfast and cleaning up or something. Daddy was out back cleaning his boat. He always cleans it when he comes in from the water, but last night he didn’t because of the Mackenzie thing. Then I heard a voice that sounded a lot like Mackenzie downstairs; my heart was beating so fast. I woke up Casa and told him Mackenzie was downstairs. He jumped up and ran downstairs with nothing but his drawers on. He gave Mackenzie a big hug as she sat at the table eating strawberries and drinking orange juice. Mama screamed at him to go put on some clothes. Casa was back and so was that grin.
After breakfast daddy calmed us all down and said he had something to tell me and Casa. He looked nervous and his hands shook a little bit, he said that Mackenzie would be staying with us until her mother got better and could take of her. I thought Casa would pop and I was glad too. I asked daddy what happened to her daddy? He just said he’ll no longer be around and left it at that. Mama looked at him like I had never seen her look at him before; they had a secret and they looked nervous. After daddy finished Casa and Mackenzie ran upstairs to play video games, I stayed and talk to mama for a minute and I watched daddy. I had never seen him clean his boat like this. He was back at it after breakfast and why was his rifle out? Hunting season was far away.