- Vol. 05
Image by Mary Cassatt
Clean/uncleanIt’s when the missus goes out, I can see you properly. The master is locked in his den, and the house is quiet. I give you all the baths, you’re used to me around water and you never make a fuss. It’s meant to make me know my place, but it’s like coming out into the light, spending my nights upstairs after my days trapped in the kitchen. The big range dries out my skin and throws smuts into my hair. But I never feel dirty when I’m with you, even though you have everything you could wish for. That I could hope for.
I polish the knives and forks and wonder what you can use them all for. You have five pairs of shoes, I went barefoot till I came to work in this house when I was ten- missus made me cover up my feet and they itched for weeks. The only time I’ve lain down to wash, I was giving birth in a bath-tub. This bath-tub. You won’t have to deal with that.
I wash your feet specially, missus doesn’t like any one to notice how your little toes are so short. She won’t let you wear sandals, makes you keep your shoes on at their beach house in Hove. Everyone understands, she’s tried so hard for a child, then had one that’s not quite perfect. She’s so beautiful, with her long red hair and blue eyes. The master and missus are striking when they walk out arm in arm, with his blonde hair like an angel. Everyone is on their best behaviour around her.
Your hair is getting darker, your eyes are getting lighter. I gather you into my lap, the place I hold you once a day and carefully wash around your perfect toes. The only remaining sign that you are mine.