“Say what? ”

“You talking about something that don’t exist.”

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 know they there cause you get punished for crossing em,” I say. “Least I do.” “Lot a folks think if you talk back to you husband, you crossed the line.

And that justifies punishment. You believe in that line?” I scowl down at the table. “You know I ain’t studying no line like that.”

“Cause that line ain’t there. Except in Leroy’s head. Lines between black and white ain’t there neither. Some folks just made those up, long time ago, And that go for the white trash and the society ladies too.”

Thinking about Miss Celia coming out with that fire poker when she could’ve hid behind the door, I don’t know. I get a twinge. I want her to understand how it is with Miss Hilly. But how do you tell a fool like her?

“So you saying they ain’t no line between the help and the boss either?”

Aibileen shakes her head. “They’s just positions, like on a checkerboard. Who work for who don’t mean nothing.”

“So I ain’t crossing no line if I tell Miss Celia the truth, that she ain’t good enough for Hilly?” I pick my cup up. I’m trying hard to get this, but my cut’s thumping against my brain. “But wait, if I tell her Miss Hilly’s out at her league. . . then ain’t I saying they is a line?”

Aibileen laughs. She pats my hand. “All I’m saying is, kindness don’t have no boundaries.”

“Hmph.” I put the ice to my head again. “Well, maybe I’ll try to tell her. Before she goes to the Benefit and makes a big pink fool a herself.”

“You going this year?” Aibileen asks.

“If Miss Hilly gone he in the same room as Miss Celia telling her lies about me, I want a be there. Plus Sugar wants to make a little money for Christmas. Be good for her to start learning party serving.”


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