Their Eyes Were Watching God
Then Tea Cake took to popping in at the kitchen door at odd hours. Between breakfast and dinner, sometimes. Then often around two o’ clock he’d come home and tease and wrestle with her for a half hour and slip on back to work. So one day she asked him about it.
"Tea Cake, whut you doin’ back in de quarters when everybody else is still workin’?"
"Come tuh see ‘bout you. De boogerman liable tuh tote yuh off whilst Ah’m gone."
"Tain’t no boogerman got me tuh study ‘bout. Maybe you think Ah ain’t treatin’ yuh right and you watchin’ me."
"Naw, naw, Janie. Ah know better’n dat. But since you got dat in yo’ head, Ah’ll have tuh tell yuh de real truth, so yuh can know. Janie, Ah gits lonesome out dere all day ‘thout yuh. After dis, you betta come git uh job uh work out dere lak de rest uh de women – so Ah won’t be losin’ time comin’ home."
"Tea Cake, you’se uh mess! Can’t do ‘thout me dat lil time."
"Tain’t no lil time. It’s near ‘bout all day."
So the very next morning Janie got ready to pick beans along with Tea Cake. There was a suppressed murmur when she picked up a basket and went to work. She was already getting to be a special case on the much. It was generally assumed that she thought herself too good to work like the rest of the women and that Tea Cake "pomped her up tuh dat." But all day long the romping and playing they carried on behind the boss’s back made her popular right away. (14.20-27)
They fought on. "You done hurt mah heart, now you come wid uh lie tuh bruise mah ears! Turn go mah hands!" Janie seethed. But Tea Cake never let go. They wrestled on until they were doped with their own fumes and emanations; till their clothes had been torn away; till he hurled her to the floor and held her there melting her resistance with the heat of his body, doing things with their bodies to express the inexpressible; kissed her until she arched her body to meet him and they fell asleep in sweet exhaustion. (15.14)
"Whut would Ah do wid dat lil chunk of a woman wid you around? She ain’t good for nothin’ exceptin’ tuh set up in uh corner by de kitchen stove and break wood over her head. You’se something tuh make uh man forgit tuh git old and forgit tuh die." (15.18)