When Annabelle pulled in the parking space behind the house, a trove of garbage greeted her at the back door. Ravi had left in a hurry that morning, so the culprit responsible for this crime was obvious.
Annabelle sucked her teeth and stepped over the rotting pumpkins that had been used to decorate for the fall season and the 6 or so bags of trash that were left abandoned no less than 10 feet from the garbage bin. It only stood to reason that the woman was going to come back and dispose of the trash she’d left SO close to the bin. Why else would anyone do that?
Fuming over this latest incident, Annabelle turned her thoughts on how she’d gotten here. Surely this had been her fault. Yes, Anitha had failed to explain that they were looking for a slave to wait on them had to mouth, but she herself had set these precedencies by agreeing to do certain things from the very beginning…such as making the couples bed. That just smacked of Mammy-ism.
She busied herself with light cleaning and the ever heaping pile of laundry. Anitha was picking up Serena today, so that was one less battle she had to fight for the day. The child had grown increasingly belligerent, and was eager to tell Annabelle why.
“I’m getting a new nanny soon, so I don’t have to listen to you anymore,” Serena said cheekily one afternoon.
“That’s fine, Serena,” replied Annabelle dully. She couldn’t care less. It wasn’t as though she had a history of obedience to live up to.
Annabelle was brushing Serena’s hair when she made the announcement. She prepared to affix a dark brown ribbon to secure the ponytail she had made when Serena whipped around.
“No! Not that one! I don’t like dark colors,” the child said, eyeing Annabelle suspiciously.
So the kid was a racist? Wonder where she got that from.
“Okay Serena. Pick any one you’d like.”
Serena picked up a pink and white ribbon and skipped off when Annabelle was done.
Annabelle came from the laundry room to find mother and child seated on the sofa reading a book together. On the floor, by the dining room table, was a pile of Serena’s clothes that she had worn to school that day. They were soaked in urine.
“Excuse me, ladies,” Annabelle said to the pair. “Serena, can you please take your clothes upstairs and put them in your laundry duckie?”
“No. You do it.”
“No, Serena. These are not my clothes. There are your clothes.”
“Well, then Mommy can do it.”
Annabelle shook her head.
“These are not Mommy’s clothes either, and they just can’t sit there. Please take them up so that the house will be neat.”
Serena paused for a moment and then leapt off her mother’s lap.
She took the clothes upstairs and returned a few moments later to resume reading the book. Anitha shot daggers at Annabelle, clearly angered that this woman had the gall to ask her precious child to do menial labor…labor that she was meant to be doing! Annabelle ignored the gaze and continued with the rest of her day.
The next afternoon, she spoke with the teacher to find out if she needed to bring more clothes for Serena. The child had a penchant for several wardrobe changes at home, and it appeared she was trying to do the same at school. In the course of conversation, it was revealed that Serena intentionally urinated on herself in order to change her clothes.
“She was sitting at her desk and had a little accident,” her teacher said. “She asked if she could change her clothes because she’d wet herself. I felt her pants and they were only the tiniest bit wet. I told her to go to the bathroom and finish peeing. She didn’t have to change her clothes.”
Annabelle was listened with withdrawn attention until the teacher finished up the tale with these words:
“Well, Serena went into the bathroom, stood by the toilet, and peed on herself, soaking herself right through. When she came out, she asked if she was wet enough to change.”
What a conniving little child!
“Wow. Ummm…okay! I’ll bring some more clothes then? Yes…” she let her voice trail off. If she cared enough about the family, she’d be embarrassed for them. At this point, this stunt was just another scene in an ongoing circus show.
As though her parents behavior weren’t disgraceful enough, Serena did her utmost – whether voluntarily or with some prodding – to make Annabelle aware that she was no longer welcome in the house. She made waking up very unpleasant.
“I don’t want you to get me out of the crib! I want Mommy to!” she screeched in the dawn hours.
“Okay, Serena,” Annabelle began firmly. “Two things: It’s too early for you to start screaming and second, I’d rather not be getting you out of the crib AT ALL, but Mommy is busy right now.”
The crib was soaked with urine. The previous night, she’d heard Serena tell her father she had to go to the potty after drinking as glass of water. The man’s reply was: “You’re wearing a diaper. Just pee in it.”
“When are you leaving?” the child asked suddenly. This was a question she had begun to ask often.
“Very soon, Serena,” Annabelle assured her.
In fact, that coming Saturday was when she would be departing. She could hardly wait. Anitha had scheduled two interviews that week. One was a no show, and the other was coming on Tuesday afternoon. As Annabelle had promised, she left the vicinity when the woman was scheduled to arrive. She sat in her bedroom and flipped through a magazine.
“Hello!” Anitha said warmly, greeting her candidate.
“Hello,” to woman said in reply. She stuck out her hand and introduced herself as Brianna. Annabelle gathered from her accent that she was White, probably from the Midwest.
The two ladies began to chat and Annabelle realized she had not shut her door. She got up to close but stopped short when she heard Anitha begin to whisper. What was she whispering about? Annabelle leaned in to hear a little better.
Lies, lies and yet more lies!