THE TRIALS OF TRICIA
I lay propped on the bed. I adjusted my position to take a comfortable pose. I picked up the little note book and took the pen by the side cupboard. As I ran the biro through the pages of the book, I silently thanked my sister, Stella for bringing the writing materials for me. I needed them to document my thoughts. For me, writing is therapy and I needed to let out to much to feel freedom from this my current abode.
I still remembered the first day I saw her. If I say I fell in love with her, I will not be exaggerating. Who will not? She had the most innocent face I had ever seen, a smooth face and lips that appeared too smooth for lies. I welcomed her with open arms. I was glad to use her services.
I just had twin babies and needed a lot of help. So I was so grateful when the agent brought her to me. She was a wonderful girl, eager to do her duties and devoted to my children. I was happy and thanked God, singing her praises to anyone who cared to listen. Since I was a child, I had vowed that I would treat my domestic assistants with great kindness. And I was determined to make Winifred my experiment.
If only I knew that sometimes experiments can produce mutations. I could not have believed it of her. But it was so. I provided Winifred with the best. She slept in a room that had an air conditioner. I bought her new clothes. She ate whatever she liked. She ate with my husband and I on the table. Winifred watched television and was treated like my younger sister.
I thought I had done my part and expected absolute loyalty from her. But soon, new colours emerged. Having worked her way into my heart and feeling that she was indispensable, Winifred began to act different. She took time to answer when I called her and sometimes spoke rudely to me. I complained to my husband who advised me to be patient with her.
‘You have always spoken so well of her, Tricia,’ he said. ‘Just bear with her. Maybe she is being overworked.’ I tried to bear it all because I needed help with the children.
Matters came to a head one Saturday afternoon. I had told Winifred to attend to the children and she told me she was tired. I got angry and confronted her.
‘What’s wrong with you? I brought you here to take care of my kids and you are telling me you are tired?’
‘Eh, madam don’t shout on me I beg. I am not your slave.’
‘You are getting very rude and have to leave this house. I cannot continue to take this behaviour.’
‘You cannot do anything. You are too lazy to take care of those children. You cannot do without me.’
‘You are saying that to me, Winifred? Now get inside and pack your things and get out.’
‘I am not going anywhere.’
I walked out of the kitchen, shaking with anger. I walked to the sitting room and dialled my husband’s number. I felt the sharp pain and turned, screaming. The knife descended again and I saw the face of Winifred, menacing in its evil intent.
That was all I remembered as I collapsed on the floor of the living room.
I woke up in the hospital. My sister, Stella who brought me said she suddenly felt a great urge to see me. She tried to fight against it but it was so strong and she drove to my house, her heart beating fast without her knowing why
The door of my sitting room was half open when she entered the house. She saw me sprawled on the floor of the living room in a pool of blood. Her screams attracted neighbours and I was brought to the hospital. Doctors battled to save my life for almost two months before I regained consciousness. Our family doctor said I was lucky to be alive because I had been stabbed so many times.
My husband told me that Winifred had cleaned out the house, taking all my gold, money and every valuable thing she could find in the house. He was glad she did not harm the twins whom she left sleeping in the room. The police are still searching for her.
Everyone was happy I survived it. I was happier than them all. As I lay on the hospital bed, waiting to recover, I thanked God for keeping me alive through my trials to tell my story.
This narrative is based on a true story.
Today I hear stories of women who ill-treat their maids and I think about it deeply. Everyone comments about how wicked these women are. A lot of times people do not discuss the flip side of the coin. There are lots of cruel domestic helps out there.
Those who seduce the men of the house and take the place of their mistresses.
Those who connive with kidnappers to abduct the children they are meant to take care of and demand ransom.
Those who physically abuse the children left in their care.
There was actually the case of a house boy who killed his mistress. How many cases can we cite?
They are endless.
As I wrote the TRIALS OF TRICIA, I wondered which stand one should take. To treat them badly or to treat them well and pray, just pray that they don’t turn out to be as wicked as Winifred?
I thought I had the answer when I wrote LAMENTATIONS OF LAMI but now my thoughts are running wild.
What do you think, readers?