Nothing prepares a parent for the realization that their child could be sexually active.
Certainly, nothing had prepared Mama Ken for the day she bumped into her teenage son’s girlfriend coming down the stairs from her son’s room.
I have never seen my employer react with as much disbelief as she did that Saturday.
Instead of admonishing her son for bringing a girl to the house, she ended up threatening to report the girl to her parents.
“Why didn’t you tell me that girl has been coming to my house to see Ken?!” Mama Ken would then proceed to direct her fury to me.
I knew this would happen. The house help gets all the blame for the misdeeds of her employer’s children.
Even if Angie had known about it, I doubt Mama Ken would have berated her for it. Angie has been attending Saturday tuition sessions in the neighborhood for as far back as I can remember. It is because that girl is always preoccupied with her phone no wonder she needs extra coaching on school work.
But I cannot tell my employer this. It is simply none of my business.
“I did not know about it Mama Ken.” I lied, all the while hoping I sounded convincing.
‘How can you not know about it yet you are always here in the house?!” It was obvious that Mama Ken was not convinced.
“Do you realize that girl can end up pregnant?! What will happen then?!”
I nearly mentioned that she should be telling her son that. Not me. But I held my tongue.
“Anything that happens in my house under your watch, I need to be told!” Mama Ken was firm.
“And I don’t even know when you transformed into such an expert liar Coretta. I have always known you to be an honest girl.”
An unexpected praise from my employer although delivered in a stern manner.
“I am not lying Mama Ken.” I mumbled, averting my gaze.
“And go change into something decent! That top you are wearing is too tight!” Mama Ken suddenly ordered.
My face subsequently grew hot from embarrassment.
I had recently got my monthly salary and after sending the amount I usually send home, decided to upgrade my dressing. I ended up buying a couple of fitting tops and thought I looked nice in them by the way. But I must admit that I had not thought about the reaction from my employer, once she realized I now dress differently. And it was certainly not good.
Her mouth had now curved into a disgusted sneer.
“I hope you realize that there are men in this house. I will not have you dress in such a kind of manner!” She added harshly.
Retreating to my room, I was suddenly surprised that my eyes were wet with tears.
Mama Ken has never pretended to be particularly nice to me in the past. I have had to put up with her irritability and her need to constantly remind me of my place in her house. But implying that I was trying to get the attention of her son or husband with my dressing, had crossed the line and had indeed stung.
As I peeled off the “offending” top from my body, I let the tears flow freely. Tears of anger for having to work for someone else and follow all their rules. Rules that governed even how I chose to dress. Right then, I hated being a house help living in Mama Ken’s house.
Later on, when nobody was about and I was busy getting the dry clothes from the dry lines, Ken approached me rather meekly.
“Coretta,” He called.
“I’m sorry I got you into trouble today.” He mumbled apologetically.
Still brooding over my employer’s earlier actions, I only nodded.