She didn’t hear the sound of the screen door in the morning. She lay there and stared at the ceiling, felt her strength slowly push back into her arms and legs while the sun turned the night from a creamed glow to an Orange Julius - white, gold and cold.  It should have occurred to her to listen for his truck but she figured he was already gone off to work. She had four things to do before noon.

Oh baby, take me back
I won't do nothin' you don't like

Oh, I went down that railroad track
Beggin' my baby to take me back

Take me back, me, one more time
Won't do nothin' to worry your mind

Coffee, eggs and bacon. Milk for the kids and they chattered at the table while she set bowls in front of them and made them finish their eggs. She cleaned the kitchen in silence as they tottered off to the family room to watch cartoons. It was just past eight in the morning and she had three more things to do.

Tote your water and cut your wood
Make your fire, if I could

Oh baby, didn't you say
You're gonna lemme have my way?

'Tain't but the one thing grieve my mind
My woman quit me in the wintertime

It was almost nine before his clothes were dry. She folded them carefully and put them in his drawers. The rest she folded and put into paper bags and the one suitcase she’d managed to salvage from when she was young and full of wanderlust. This bag was old and tattered, covered with buttons saying “have a nice day” and “whatever” and “Prince, Purple Rain tour ‘84”. She didn’t bother to take them off. She looked up once at the clock around 9:30 and hurried herself. She folded the sheets and put them away. She had two more things left to do.

Kill your chicken, baby, save me the wing
Think I'm workin', ain't doin' a thing

I got a girl, her name is Mar'
Works over yonder in the white folks yard

She rushed me chicken, rushed me a goose
Precious little turkey, well it 'tain't no use

In the back of her mind she kept hearing his truck coming up the dirt road even though she knew it wasn’t. It made her push herself to move faster, load the car faster, grab a few toys for Jamie, some for Leanne. She ran back and forth from the car to the bedroom, grabbing a stray brush she forgot, stopping only for a moment to rub the bruise on her thigh from his boot. She started to cry as she strapped in the twins, then wiped the tears away as she rounded the car and sat behind the wheel. There was one last thing to do. It was almost noon when she started the engine.

Take me back, take me back
Won't do nothin', baby, you don't like

Lyrics for Take Me Back Baby by Mance Lipscomb

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