A Philadelphia vignette.
"Bitch," she says.
Mama keeps walking, and the two girls follow them outside.
"What's up, bitch?" yells the one in the tank top.
Qyntell looks back at the girls as Mama pulls him down the sidewalk. He looks frightened, like he's about to cry.
"That's right, bitch, walk away."
Mama lets go of Qyntell's hand and starts walking back to the girls.
"Mama," says Qyntell, standing there in his little blue windbreaker and one untied sneaker, his eyes sad and frightened and welling with tears.
"Fuck you, you fucking bitch," Mama shouts as she stomps back toward the girls.
Qyntell runs up the steps of a row home, crouches down and presses his frightened face between the wrought iron bars of the railing. He watches Mama and the two girls shout and curse at each other.
Mama's boyfriend doesn't move. He stands there with his hands in his pockets and shakes his head.
"Damn," he says.
"Bitch, you better walk the fuck outta here before you get your pregnant ass fucked the fuck up," yells the girl with crinkled hair.
"I'll fuck your asses up with this baby in my stomach."
The girls laugh and push Mama.
Two men stand on the sidewalk watching. One has a beard and a backpack. He does nothing. The other man is in dress pants and a shirt. He's laughing.
"Mama, hit 'em," yells Qyntell from the step, the words seeming to rise out of him before he can stop them, tears coming down his face now.
Mama's boyfriend finally moves. He's angry and grabs Mama.
"I ain't letting you fight with my baby in your stomach," he says. "I'll hit you my damn self if I have to."
Mama tries to break free from him, and he pushes her so she falls back a few steps.
The two girls fall into each other laughing and call Mama names.