Nettie is here with us. She runs away from home. She says she hates to leave our stepma, but she had to get out, maybe fine help for the other little ones. The boys are alright, she says. They can stay out of his way. When they get big they gon fight him. Maybe kill, I say. How is it with you and Mr. ____? she asked.
But she got eyes. He still likes her. In the evening he comes out on the porch in his Sunday best. She is sitting there with me shelling peas or helping the children with the spelling.
Helping me with spelling and everything else she thinks I need to know.
No matter what happens, Nettie steadily tries to teach me what goes on in the world.
And she is a good teacher too. It nearly kills me to think she might marry somebody like Mr. _____ or wind up in some white lady's kitchen.
All-day she read, studies, she practices her handwriting, and tries to get us to think. Most days I feel too tired to think. But Patient her middle name. Mr. _____ children are all bright but they mean.
They say, Celie, I want dis. Celie, I want dad. Our Mama let us have it. He doesn’t say anything. They try to get his tension, he hides hind a puff of smoke. Don’t let them run over you, Nettie says.
You got to let them know who got the upper hand. They got it, I say. But she keeps on, You got to fight. You got to fight. But I don’t know how to fight.
All I know how to do is stay alive. That’s a really pretty dress you got on, he says to Nettie.
She says, Thank you. Them shoes look just right. She says, Thank you. Your skin. Your hair. Your teens. Every day it's something else to make the migration over. First, she smiles a little. Then she frowns. Then she doesn’t look any special way at all