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The Morning

I'll never forget his screams. The terror. The betrayal.
Through my convulsing sobs, I pried his tiny fingers from around my neck. I pushed him away, into her arms. The woman who would now take on the role of “mama." Tears streamed down my face, washing away the waterproof mascara I had put on hours earlier. It was the only makeup I wore on my African sun kissed face, and somehow I thought it would give me the power to control the tears. I wanted to be brave and strong, I didn't want him to know how much it hurt. Because then he would know how bad it really was. How hopeless our situation had become. I whispered, over and over, "Nalingi yo, mon Jephté." I love you, my Jephté. I will not forget you, I will come back. I promise. If its the last thing I do, I will come back for you. And I walked away. One foot in front of the other, through the cutout of a door in the cinderblock wall. Across the soft dirt yard where he would play, up the steps cut into the hillside…

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