I was born into a middle-class family. Dad was a lawyer and Mum was a sculptor— unfortunately she wasn’t as good as she thought.
“Is that a monkey’s butt, Mum?”
“Yes, it represents freedom. You don’t get it.”
“I don’t think anyone will.”
Growing up, I was closer to my dad. He would read to me every day and tuck me into bed. Mum stayed in her room making weird structures from mud. Every time Dad asked her to get a real job she would lock herself in and not come out for days.
Late one evening, after an argument with Dad, Mum left the house. We searched everywhere and eventually found her in the park crouching under a tree. It was the middle of the night.
“Oh, what took you guys so long? Look what I made.”
“Mum, we were going crazy looking for you.”
“Oh, but I was right here, darling.”
Things changed after that. Mum and Dad started avoiding each other even more and Dad threw himself into his work. I started reading to keep myself distracted. By seventeen, I had read almost all the books in Dad’s library.
One night, I was studying for a test when I heard Mum and Dad arguing again.
“I work hard all day and night and you go behind my back and buy these useless things?”
“I’m trying to build something amazing, and I knew you wouldn’t give me the money if I asked. Just relax.”
“No, I won’t. I’ve had enough. I am leaving.”
“What? No! Dad, wait!”
Dad didn’t even look back. I was so mad at Mum for driving him away that I didn’t talk to her for days. After Dad left, things quickly went downhill financially. I was a high school student so we had to get an extension for the fees. I managed to convince my mum to get a job at the diner so we wouldn’t go completely broke.
But a few days later, I came back from school to find Mum sitting outside the house.
“What? What happened?”
“The landlord threw us out. We didn’t have the money for rent.”
“But I thought you had a salary.”
“Yes, but then I saw this beautiful sculpting kit and I couldn’t help myself.”
“Can’t you ask for an advance from your boss?”
“No, I can’t. I quit. Waiting on people is not my thing.”
“You quit? Mum, are you crazy? We are homeless because you spent everything on those stupid supplies.”
“It’s not stupid, this is my dream.”
“And what about my dreams? You know I want to study law. But you know what? It’s my fault, I should have known better.”
The look on Mum’s face broke my heart, but I was too mad to think straight. We took our luggage and moved to a motel nearby and I spent the whole night applying to every part-time job on the Internet. That’s when I came across an ad for a live-in nanny to ten-year-old twins. The pay was good so I applied and luckily I got a call back almost immediately.
Judging by the address, the place was in the middle of nowhere. I was asked to start work immediately the next day. I couldn’t sleep that night, I was so anxious to start my new job. I got up very early that morning and moved into my new employer’s house. As soon as I opened the door, pieces of bread began flying over my head. I looked into the house only to see the twin sisters yelling at the lady who had presumably been their nanny before me. Their behavior terrified me, but I had no choice other than to stay because I really needed the job. I convinced myself that I could handle the twins, knowing that worse was to come.
To be continued
27 February, 2023