Monday, 21 March 2011


Last Sunday, my househelp turned up at 11 p.m., dead drunk. Just like other Sundays, she had left home at about 9 a.m. to go to church, or wherever else she wanted to go.
When I first met her, my househelp was respectful, responsible and likeable. All that changed last Sunday. Photo/FILE
The agreement we had is that on her off days, she should be back by 6 p.m. She had honoured this agreement until last Sunday.
At 5.30 p.m. that day, she called to inform me that she would be late. She had gone to visit a sick relative in Thika, she explained but, from the look of things, she would get home at around 7.30 p.m. as there was a nasty jam on Thika road. No problem, I said.
By 9 p.m., however, she hadn’t turned up, so I called her. The phone rang for a while and when she finally answered, she informed that she had just reached the city centre and was boarding a matatu to bring her home.
Half an hour later, she still hadn’t arrived. Concerned, I called again. This time, she informed me that she was at the local shopping centre, waiting for the rain to let off.
It was one of those showers that fall abruptly, and end just as fast. The pounding lasted for just a few minutes.
Forty-five minutes later however, she was nowhere to be seen. That’s when I got suspicious.
Fuming, I called her again and told her that if she wasn’t at my door within five minutes, she should look for somewhere else to spend the night. Three minutes later, she was there.
The sight that met me when I opened the door nearly made me faint with shook. Her belt was untied, her jeans unzipped and her hair was all over the place.
The first thought that came to mind was that she had been attacked. Barely breathing, and dreading to hear what I thought was coming, I asked her what had happened, pointing at her unzipped trousers.
“Nothing, I have just relieved myself there,” she informed me amid giggles, pointing at a puddle a few steps from the door.
That’s when it dawned on me that she was drunk. I was dumbstruck for a few seconds. This isn’t real, a voice in my head consoled me. It is just a bad dream, you will soon wake up.
I didn’t wake up. A minute later, the young woman was still swaying before me to music in her head, fighting a losing battle to stay on her feet.
She’s the one who snapped me out of my stupor, requesting me to allow her to get into the house so that she could sleep.
“What?” I heard myself scream. I don’t quite remember what I said next, but to cut a long story short, she slept off her hangover elsewhere.
When I had calmed down enough, I called her mother that night and told her about what had happened. She didn’t seem surprised.
“She’s a grown up, I’m sure she’ll turn up in the morning,” is all she said, before she wished me a good night. Apparently she knew what her 25-year-old daughter was capable of.
She did turn up the next day, as sober as she was when we met for the first time. I asked her to pack her clothes, paid her and closed the door behind her.
By then, the anger had evaporated, and I could afford to appreciate the humour in the incident. Nonetheless, it taught me that you never really know the person you entrust your family and house to.
This young woman was respectful, responsible, and likeable – until last Sunday. It could have been worse, I keep telling myself. That’s my story, what’s yours?

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