That's what I love about Aibileen, she can take the most complicated things in life and wrap them up so small and simple, they'll fit right in your pocket.
Wasn't that the point of the book? For women to realize, We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I'd thought.
Truth.It feels cool, like water washing over my sticky-hot body. Cooling a heat that's been burning me up all my life.Truth, I say inside my head again, just for that feeling.
...and that's when I get to wondering, what would happen if I told her she something good, ever day?
I used to believe in 'em [lines]. I don't anymore. They in our heads. People like Miss Hilly is always trying to make us believe they there. But they ain't. - Aibileen
Miss Leefolt sigh, hang up the phone like she just don't know how her brain gone operate without Miss Hilly coming over to push the Think buttons.
It weren’t too loo long before I seen something in me, had changed. A bitter seed was planted inside of me. And I just didn’t feel so, accepting, anymore.
That was the day my whole world went black. Air looked black. Sun looked black. I laid up in bed and stared at the black walls of my house….Took three months before I even looked out the window, see the world still there. I was surprised to see the world didn’t stop.
I haven’t had the chance to look at too many men’s faces up close. And I noticed how his skin was thicker than mine, and a gorgeous shade of toast. The stiff blond hairs on his cheeks and chin seemed to be growing before my eyes. He smelled like starch. Like pine. His nose wasn’t so pointy afterall. …And out of the blue, he kissed me. Right in the middle of the Robert E. Lee Hotel Restaurant, he kissed me so slowly with an open mouth and every single thing in my body-my skin, my collarbone, the hollow backs of my knees, everything inside of me filled up with light.
No one tells us, girls who don't go on dates, that remembering can be almost as good as what actually happens.
The first time I was ever called ugly, I was thirteen. It was a rich friend of my brother Carlton's over to shoot guns in the field.'Why you crying, girl?' Constantine asked me in the kitchen.I told her what the boy had called me, tears streaming down my face.'Well? Is you?'I blinked, paused my crying. 'Is I what?''Now you look a here, Egenia'-because constantien was the only one who'd occasionally follow Mama's rule. 'Ugly live up on the inside. Ugly be a hurtful, mean person. Is you one a them peoples?''I don't know. I don't think so,' I sobbed.Constantine sat down next to me, at the kitchen table. I heard the cracking of her swollen joints. She pressed her thumb hard in the palm of my hand, somthing we both knew meant Listen. Listen to me.'Ever morning, until you dead in the ground, you gone have to make this decision.' Constantine was so close, I could see the blackness of her gums. 'You gone have to ask yourself, Am I gone believe what them fools say about me today?'She kept her thumb pressed hard in my hand. I nodded that I understood. I was just smart enough to realize she meant white people. And even though I still felt miserable, and knew that I was, most likely, ugly, it was the first time she ever talked to me like I was something besides my mother's white child. All my life I'd been told what to believe about politics, coloreds, being a girl. But with Constantine's thumb pressed in my hand, I realized I actually had a choice in what I could believe.
We go on in her room, where we like to set. I get up in the big chair and she get up on me and smile, bounce a little. Tell me bout the brown wrapping. And the present. She so excited, she squirming. She has to jump off my lap, squirm a little to get it out. Then she crawl back up. That's her favorite story cause when I tell it, she get two presents. I take the brown wrapping from my Piggly Wiggly grocery bag and wrap up a little something, like piece a candy, inside. Then I use the white paper from my Cole's Drug Store bag and wrap another one just like it. She take it real serious, the unwrapping, letting me tell the story bout how it ain't the color a the wrapping that count, it's what we is inside.
Hilly raises her voice about three octaves higher when she talks to coloured people. Elizabeth smiles like she's talking to a child, although certainly not her own. I am starting to notice things.
I shake my head at my friend. “Not only is they lines, but you know good as I do where them lines be drawn.” Aibileen shakes her head. “I used to believe in em. I don’t anymore. They in our heads. People like Miss Hilly is always trying to make us believe they there. But they ain’t.
I worked for Miss Margaret thirty-eight years. She had her a baby girl with the colic and the only thing that stopped the hurting was to hold her. So I made me a wrap. I tied her up on my waist, toted her around all day with me for a entire year. That baby like to break my back. Put ice packs on it ever night and still do. But I loved that girl. And I loved Miss Margaret.Miss Margaret always made me put my hair up in a rag, say she know coloreds don't wash their hair. Counted ever piece a silver after I done the polishing. When Miss Margaret die of the lady problems thirty years later, I go to the funeral. Her husband hug me, cry on my shoulder. When it's over, he give me a envelope. Inside a letter from Miss Margaret reading, 'Thank you. For making my baby stop hurting. I never forgot it.'Callie takes off her black-rimmed glasses, wipes her eyes.If any white lady reads my story, that's what I want them to know. Saying thank you, when you really mean it, when you remember what someone done for you-she shakes her head, stares down at the scratched table-it's so good.
All my life I'd been told what to believe about politics, coloreds, being a girl. But with Constantine's thumb pressed in my hand, I realized I actually had a choice in what I could believe.
I come home that morning, after I been fired, and stood outside my house with my new work shoes on. The shoes my mama paid a month's worth a light bill for. I guess that's when I understood what shame was and the color of it too. Shame ain't black, like dirt, like I always thought it was. Shame be the color of a new white uniform your mother ironed all night to pay for, white without a smudge or a speck a work-dirt on it.
Shame ain't black, like dirt, like I always thought it was. Shame be the color of a new white uniform your mother ironed all night to pay for, white without a smudge or a speck a work-dirt on it.
I looked after that Dudley family for too long, over six years. His daddy would take him to the garage and whip him with a rubber hose-pipe trying to beat the girl out a that boy until I couldn't stand it no more.... I wish to God I'd told John Green Dudley he ain't going to hell. That he ain't no sideshow freak cause he like boys. I wish to God I'd filled his ears with good things like I'm trying to do with Mae Mobley. Instead, I just sat in the kitchen, waiting to put the salve on them hose-pipe welts.
As I wrote, I found that Aibileen had some things to say that really weren't in her character. She was older, soft-spoken, and she started showing some attitude.
When Demetrie got sick, we knew it was our responsibility to take care of her and pay her medical bills. And we embraced that. But the tricky part is, like so many families in the South, we also expected her to use a separate bathroom, to use separate utensils.
That white uniform was her 'pass' to get into white places with us - the grocery store, the state fair, the movies. Even though this was the 70s and the segregation laws had changed, the 'rules' had not.