“Hilly’s going to be here in five minutes and she’s messed up everything!” she screech. I guess Mae Mobley hear her through the window cause she look over at us, frozen. Smile fades. After a second, she start wiping the mud off her face real slow.

I put a apron on cause I got to hose them kids off. Then I’m on go in the garage, get my stockings on. Book coming out in four days. Ain’t a minute too soon.

WE BEEN living in ANTICIPATION. Me, Minny, Miss Skeeter, all the maids with stories in the book. Feel like we been waiting for some invisible pot a water to boil for the past seven months. After bout the third month a waiting, we just stopped talking about it.

But for the past two weeks, I’ve had a secret joy and a secret dread both rattling inside a me that make waxing floors go even slower and washing underwear a uphill race. Ironing pleats turns into a eternity, but what can you do. We all pretty sure nothing’s gone be said about it right at first. Just like Miss Stein told Miss Skeeter, this book ain’t gone be no best-seller and to keep our “expectations low.” Miss Skeeter say maybe don’t spec nothing at all, that most Southern peoples is “repressed.” If they feel something, they might not say a word. Just hold they breath and wait for it to pass, like gas.

Minny say, “I hope she hold her breath till she explode all over Hinds County.” She mean Miss Hilly. I wish Minny was wishing for change in the direction a kindness, but Minny is Minny, all the time.

“YOU WANT YOU a snack, Baby Girl?” I ask when she get home from school on Thursday. Oh, she a big girl! Already four years old. She tall for her age—most folks think she five or six. Skinny as her mama is, Mae Mobley still chubby. And her hair ain’t looking too good. She decide to give herself a haircut with her construction paper scissors and you know how that turn out. Miss Leefolt had to take her down to the grown-up beauty parlor but they couldn’t do a whole lot with it. It still be short on one side with almost nothing in front.

I fix her a little something low-calorie to eat cause that’s all Miss Leefolt let me give her. Crackers and tunafish or Jell-O without no whip cream.

“What you learn today?” I ask even though she ain’t in real school, just the pretend kind. Other day, when I ask her, she say, “Pilgrims. They came over and nothing would grow so they ate the Indians.”