The days following the experience of the iced cream parlor had been quiet. After oga and his lady friend had gone all out against each other, the house has started to see less of him. At first, she thought it was just a phase, but then he stopped coming to the house altogether. Mary was worried. Where could he be? He wasn’t the best of fathers but he definitely wasn’t the type to leave his son and just disappear. She knew something was wrong, but who could she talk to about it? The maids who were very happy that oga was not ion the house? Or the old and weak gardener who really destroys the flowers more than he cares for them? She knew no one’s phone numbers who would matter. She was sad all the time and with each new day, the boy slipped even deeper into misery. Duke had more nightmares and Mary had more sleepless night. Gradually, she watched helplessly as the boy retired into a hidden cave. A place so far away that even Mary could not find him. Something was eating away at the boy and as much as Mary tried to make sense of his mindless ramblings, she couldn’t.
One hot afternoon, two months after Mary had gotten her enviable new clothes and shoes and almost two weeks since they had last seen oga in the house, Mary had started to worry about where in heaven’s name the man could have gone leaving his son in the house alone with a bunch of employees. All her growing respect for the man was disappearing and she was starting to reconsider running away, Mary was in the room, watching over a sleeping duke when she heard the sounds of high heeled shoes down the hallway. CLICK CLACK CLICK CLACK it sounded and she was quite about to go out into the hallway and give whoever it was a piece of her mind when the door to the room opened and an elderly woman came in. the minute Mary saw her, she muttered “bloody hell” under her breath and prepared for the worst.
She stood out of the bed as quickly and quietly as she could, ruffling and rustling herself out of the boy’s grip as gently as possible before standing up from the bed. She looked up at the woman of imposing standing that stood before her and she needed no introduction. She knew who she was and she bowed her head gently in acknowledgement of the woman.
“Good day madam” Mary whispered with her head bowed and eyes to the floor. The older woman looked well past her sixties but she stood tall and elegant in a two piece pencil pants suit that made her look twenty years younger and her hair was swept up into a Japanese bun on top of her head. She had almost no makeup on but for a shocking red lipstick that made her look a tiny little bit naughty. She was the last thing that would come into a person’s mind when they thought about grandmothers. But that was exactly what she was. She looked at the boy in the bed and recognizing the situation; she pulled Mary out into the hallway and closed the door quietly behind her.
“You are the new nanny.”
It was not a question, it was a statement and Mary just nodded to it as she didn’t know how best to respond.
“How is he doing?” she asked after a very heavy pause. Mary knew that this woman was not asking a general question; she was not expecting an answer like “he’s fine” and she knew better than to try to butter her up. As painful as Mary found it, she knew she would have to admit to this woman that her grandson had not been very well at all. She knew she would have to give this woman a detailed account of how the boy had been. What the hell, she was the first person who had seemed to have shown any genuine interest in the boy’s welfare anyways.
To be continued soon…
Story by Nancy Olakunle