When Jende hears Mighty sniffling in the backseat, he thinks that the boy just has a cold. Then, he sees Mighty wiping at his eyes with the tissue that Jende hands him from the glove compartment. He asks if Mighty is okay. The boy nods, but Jende pulls to the side of the street. He isn’t going to let the boy go to school crying, though they have to be there in ten minutes to avoid being late. He turns the car off and gets in the backseat. Mighty says that the Edwardses’ plans to spend Christmas in St. Barths have been canceled, and that his mother was screaming and crying last night. Jende tries to assure the boy that his parents will be friends again. He worries about someone seeing them—a black man with a white boy nestled against his chest in the backseat of a luxury car—and calling the police.
Mighty is afraid of his parents’ marriage breaking up and takes their cancelled Christmas plans as a sign of their imminent divorce. With Vince no longer around, it becomes increasingly clear that is family is breaking apart. Jende’s assurances to Mighty are also assurances to himself that the Edwardses will stay together. Discord in Cindy and Clark’s marriage could also affect his employment. Additionally, Jende worries about someone calling the police because of what Bubakar told him about the police’s racism and antagonism toward black men.
Mighty asks if he can visit the Jongas. Jende says that, as glad as he and Neni would be to have him as a guest, his parents wouldn’t approve. Mighty suggests that it could only be for an hour and Stacy could come too. Jende shakes his head, but suggests that Neni could make Mighty some puff-puff and fried ripe plantains for him to eat going to and from school. When Jende asks if that would make Mighty happy, the boy looks up at him, nods, and smiles.
Jende knows that Cindy would never allow Mighty to go to Harlem. Moreover, Cindy’s cold treatment of Jende strongly suggests that she no longer wants anything to do with the Jonga family. The offer of food is a reminder of the warm, happy times that Mighty has spent in the Jongas’ company.