Read A Girl Named Mister Online

Authors: Nikki Grimes

A Girl Named Mister

A Girl Named Mister
Nikki Grimes

Table of Contents

Cover Page

Title Page

Prologue

Cave quicquam incipias quod paeniteat postea

A Girl Named Mister

When It Was Good

Temple of My Redeemer

Choir

Something’s Missing

For Me

Restless

Sophomore Shuffle

Then Came Trey

Outsider

Just Friends

Trey’s Girl

Dylan Thomas

Into Him

Date

Don’t Remind Me

Just Us

Exposure

The “L” Word

MTV

Losing Ground

In the Name of Love

Amnesia

Trey’s Place

Later

Thoughts on the Long Walk Home

Sorry

Thought Soup

Instant Message

Wish

New Territory

Email

Let’s Talk

Dr. Jekyll

Do-Over

Phone Call

Vanishing Act

Reality Check

Exit

Pit Stop

The Book

Substitute

In Plain Sight

Stirring Memory

Silent Conversation

Dawn

A Thing to Ponder

Jerusalem, City of God

Reflection

Gabriel

Mary: Light Show

The Morning After

Betrothed

Interruption

Clarity

Focus

Split

A Simple Question

Choir Practice

Private Matters

A Crack in the Window

Face-to-Face

Truth Time

Back to Normal

Switch

I Want to be Alone

Dinner

Haunted

Journey to Judah

Sharing Secrets

Evidence

Shrinkwrap

Hands Off

Close

Guidance Counselor

She’s Right, Though

Rehearsal

Queasy

Twinge

Locker Room

Fifteenth Birthday

Squint

Sea Sick

Prayer

Kinswoman

Names

Good-bye

Neighborly

Poison

Team Spirit

Too Tender

Daydream

Wish-less

36B

Nobody Told Me, and If They Did, I Forgot

Silent Lie

Punishment

Ad

Mirror

Sleepless

Bedtime

Good News

Aftermath

Wrath

Lonely Night

Fat

Comfort

Morning Has Broken

If Only

Fear

Their Eyes

Watching

Warm-Up

[email protected]

Friend

Gone Shoppin’

Soft

Mister: FYI

Ricochet

Fog

Movies & Popcorn

Birthday

The Last Supper

Devotions

Delirious

Missing You

Options

Fama malum quo non aliud velocius ullum.

Plague

Hollywoodland

Photograph

Confession

The Wedding

At Last

Sirocco

Changes

Easy

Her Turn

What?

Why?

Pretender

Teen Mom

Need

On Second Thought

Zombie Prayer

Word’s Out

Could be Worse

News

Picture Perfect

Self Serve

Six Months and Counting

Heartsound

The Naming

Shadowboxing

Quiet

Cravings

Whispers

Beginnings

Preparation

Adoption

20-20

Waterlogged

LaVonne Taylor

Safe Haven

Mother’s Day

Proclamation

Journey

What If

Summer Break

Coney Island Blah

No

Special Delivery

Jehovah-Jireh: The Lord Provides

August Breakfast

Waterclock

Emergency Room

Labor 101

Worse

Eight Hours

Fourteen Hours

The Golden Hour

Sweet

Ishmael

Sam

Beginnings

Acknowledgements

Other books by Nikki Grimes:

Copyright

About the Publisher

Share Your Thoughts

Prologue
Mary: When Gabriel Comes

I.

A bright light turns the night

of my chamber into day

and pries my eyes open.

What do I see?

A being lit from within,

a giant whose voice

is quiet thunder.

“Fear not,” he says, too late.

I quake, rubbing my eyes

anxious to wake

from this dream.

“I am Gabriel,”

says the voice, more soothing now.

“I bring a message from God.”

Trembling, I rise

ready to listen.

Still, what am I to make

of his amazing words?

That I, a virgin,

am to be mother of Messiah?

II.

All things are possible

with God.

The truth of it

falls on me like rain.

I slowly drink it in,

then lift my arms,

surrendered.

“I am yours, Lord.

Do with me as you will.”

He wraps his light around me.

I am never the same again.

Mister: First Touch

How did it happen?

I told myself

it’s only touching.

I told myself

my clothes are still on.

But who was I kidding?

Even through

my rayon-cotton blend

his touch

burned the world away.

Cave quicquam incipias quod paeniteat postea.

“Be careful about starting something you may regret.”

—Syrus,
Maxims

A Girl Named Mister

Blame it on my mother.

She’s the one who named me

Mary Rudine.

The name is some throwback

her old-fashioned thinking

came up with.

Nobody but Mom

has called me Mary Rudine

since forever.

First it was Mary,

then it was M.R.

Mister is all anybody

calls me now.

My boyfriend used to think

it was cute,

a girl named Mister.

Used to think I was cute.

Used
to be my boyfriend

what feels like

a million years ago.

Then again, I used to be

a good Christian girl,

the kind who would never, well…

Just goes to show

how little people know.

Even I was surprised by me.

Now, I close my eyes

hoping to see

exactly where I went wrong.

When It Was Good

Was it that long ago?

I remember one morning

sitting in church,

keeping my eyes on Dante,

the cutest boy in the band.

Mom caught me.

“Quit eyeing that guitarist

like candy,” she whispered.

I laughed easy.

In those days,

Mom and me,

we could talk

about anything.

Temple of My Redeemer

A second home,

as familiar as skin.

Crammed inside its walls

memories of

Sunday school,

all-church picnics,

and vacation Bible school

Sword drills.

My youth group meets there,

and choir, of course.

Even my old Girl Scout troop

once hung out

on holy ground,

meeting in

the church basement.

I could always

count on the deacons

to take dozens of cookies

off my hands.

I’m just saying,

God’s house

was cozy territory,

no question.

Until this last year.

Don’t ask me why,

but something in me

started pulling away.

Choir

For as long as I can remember,

I have loved to sing in the choir.

“Sing, Mister” folks call out

as my voice does a high-wire

reaching for heaven’s hem.

I don’t know what my friend Sethany

concentrates on,

but whenever she sings

about the Lord

her face gets this inside-out glow.

That’s all I know.

Something’s Missing

Ankle deep,

my faith a thing

I wade into now and then.

Not like Sethany.

She’s mid-sea

and thinks I’m

right behind her.

For Me

I’m not sure when it happened,

but one Sunday I woke up

and for me,

church was mostly about

hanging out with friends

at God’s house.

And for the longest time,

that seemed to be enough.

After worship,

Mom would flash me a smile

that said “Good girl!”

as Seth and I

trotted off

to youth group.

Restless

I turned the music

of the world

way up,

my feet itching to dance

to a new rhythm,

something other than

gospel.

Sophomore Shuffle

Mom calls volleyball

my new religion

just ‘cause

I practice every day.

How else will I get better?

Let her razz me

all she wants.

I figure

since I was good enough

to make the team,

maybe volleyball

can help pay my way

to college.

It could happen.

you know what they say

about miracles.

Then Came Trey

It was a Tuesday.

It was almost cliché.

He raced round a corner,

rushing to class,

and smashed into me.

My books went flying

and so did my temper.

Thanks to this bonehead

I was going to be late,

which put me in no mood

for his apology,

and I was all ready

to cut him down to size

with my eyes,

until I caught his.

Those long lashes got me,

the way they softened

the hardscape of his face.

One look,

and they softened me too.

“Are you okay?” asked Trey.

I said something, I think,

or maybe I just nodded,

or smiled.

It’s not my fault

I can’t remember.

Blame it on

those stupid lashes.

Outsider

I asked around,

found out Trey

is one of those guys

who hangs out on the fringes

of our group.

He doesn’t go to church

but seems to like

Christian kids,

so I figure

he probably believes in God.

That’s one point

in his favor.

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