“Hey!!! I need help changing my clothes!!!!”
Serena had taken to calling Annabelle “Hey” recently. It grated on Annabelle’s nerves to no end. What 39 year old woman responds to “hey”, particularly when the address is elicited from the mouth of a 3 year old brat?
Annabelle and Anitha both glanced up at the stairs.
“Hey, do you mind going to help her?” Anitha asked tersely.
Anitha was still vexed with Annabelle in the wake of a conversation they’d had the night before. Serena’s rudeness had reached a point that Annabelle had barely been able to stand, and she told Anitha as much. This morning’s utterance was simply the latest in a long line of infractions.
“Well, I don’t know where she’s getting it from,” was Anitha indignant reply. “Ravi and I don’t talk like that, and it’s only something that’s come up in the last month or so.”
Anitha thought back to the many times that Anitha had verbally abused her husband in her presence as well as that of her child, using a tone that wasn’t fit for a beast, let alone a man. She let the comment about the “last month” slide and nodded her head. There was no reasoning with the woman.
She went upstairs to see what help the child needed. She had turned her shirt inside out and couldn’t reverse. Annabelle knelt to help her and sent her downstairs.
She had decided that this was going to be a good morning, because the next day was Thanksgiving. She was going to be away from the Rajwani’s for four whole days, and was basking in the promise of peace that lay ahead of her.
When she rejoined Serena and Anitha downstairs, Anitha was tapping her chest with her fingertips, which meant she was mentally generating a list of things for Annabelle to do.
“What time were you planning on leaving tomorrow?” she asked.
“Well, I don’t think dinner is until sometime in the afternoon…”
“Because I’m going to need your help in the morning,” Anitha interjected. “We’re going to Thanksgiving at a friend’s house and she asked me to prepare the turkey.”
Okay. Where was this heading?
“I’ve never made a turkey before, so I need your help.”
“Anitha; I’m not a cook. I’ve never made a turkey before either!”
“Well we’ll have to figure something out. Surely you’ve seen a turkey prepared before?”
Annabelle took stock of the conversation. What kinds of assumptions was this woman making? Had someone cast her as the Magical Negro Who Can Solve All Life’s ills in a low budget film and she hadn’t known about it? She supposed so as she shared a turkey tidbit that she’d picked up from The Chew with the woman.
“Well, I have seen turkey decorated with oranges and placed on kale as a garnish,” she offered lamely.
“Oh good!” Anitha exclaimed. “Can you slice the oranges today? I bought some kale last week as well. And then we can figure out where we’re going to get the turkey from.”
Annabelle inspected the kale. It, like much of the produce Anitha bought in bulk, had begun to wilt and shrivel. It would be unappealing to say the least, but that wasn’t her problem. Dinner was not with the Rajwanis.
Much to Annabelle’s surprise, Anitha took the initiative and found out she could get a pre-seasoned turkey from Popeye’s. She sent Annabelle to pick it up, which she was happy to do. Serena was home from school for the holidays and she could do with a break from the demented duo. She returned with the bird in hand and went to find some mundane endeavor that would separate her from mother and child.
Anitha searched her out about an hour later, again tapping her chest.
“Hey, I’m going to need you to stay in the morning to help me roast the turkey. And can you get a jump on the laundry before you leave for the holiday? It’s beginning to pile up.”
Annabelle took a shallow breath. Despite her opining, Anitha refused to get larger laundry baskets. The family had two dorm room baskets that held just enough for one load. With 8 items of clothing capacity, it gave the illusion of piling up, when – as was just stated – it was barely enough for one load.
Anitha had already coerced Annabelle into doing the entire family’s laundry, when in reality she should only be doing Serena’s. She cursed herself for complying to this request in the first place, but she could not stand the clutter in the laundry room. There were piles and piles of clothes scattered around the floor when she first came into the family’s employ, some with tags on them, some with yoghurt stains. It had taken Annabelle 2 weeks to sort through the mess. To her disdain, she discovered a box of Cialis buried under Ravi’s pile. The man didn’t even have the decency to discard the packaging for his erectile dysfunction medication. It should have surprised Annabelle, but it didn’t. Even his penis was too lazy to get up on its own.
Strengthened by the knowledge that in a few short hours she would be away from this family and back into the land of the sane, she bent to gather Anitha and Ravi’s clothing and gathered the bulk to her chest. She let the clothing drop with a thud, and turned on the cold cycle. As she began to parse the clothing, her hand touched Anitha’s underwear. What was that buried in the silk lining?
“Oh. My. God.”
There, in the front of the dusty rose panties was a glob the color of onyx and amber. It was the fresh remnants of Anitha’s period, which remained un-rinsed and clinging stubbornly to her six 6 undergarments.
Annabelle cursed before she could do anything else. When she gathered her senses, she quickly threw the stained underwear in with the rest of the clothing and shut the lid before fleeing the laundry room. The memory of Anitha’s uterus blood stuck with her as she let the steaming hot water burn her skin as she washed her hands. Suddenly, she was screaming and didn’t know it.
“Oh my God!”