Written for Prompt #44 (below) – from this post
The maid is not a maid, the house is not a home
My life isn’t what I’d call conventional. It’s okay, it’s good, whatever people define as not bad. I live in a huge house. By huge, I mean, huge. There’s ten bedrooms, probably more bathrooms and enough scented candles to stock an apocalyptic safe house. I have want I want and I can’t complain.
That’s how I’d describe my life to a stranger at least.
Nothing is wrong.
In reality, it’s fucked up.
My mother is the maid of this rich family. Not, made a sex tape and collected major coins rich but old money rich. I’m talking oil, coal or whatever the fuck scientists claim caused climate change. These people use dollar bills as toilet paper.
I know what you’re thinking; it must be so hard.
You probably wish you were me.
My mother isn’t just a maid, and this house? It’s not a home. It’s some kind of messed up prison that I find myself in. See, eighteen years ago, my mother was eighteen herself. She was young, naive and just as stupid as people my age generally are.
She met a guy; he was twenty years older than her but that didn’t matter.
They made the beast with two backs and here I am, some kind of messed up Cinderella, but slightly better off. My mother being the maid didn’t happen overnight. After her dalliance with my father, they went their separate ways. When she showed up six months later with a belly the size of a beach ball, shit went down and this arrangement came to pass.
Now, you’re probably thinking: at least this dude did right by her.
His wife and kids don’t know who I am. They don’t know what happened, and that my mom had to sign papers. It’s ironic that she and I are so different considering that we’ve been cocooned together since day one. We’re like two very different in peas in a comfortable yet stifling pod.
She’s quiet, kind and thoughtful and I’m loud, brash and don’t always think.
My half brother, Josh, is a douchebag. You know, the kind of college graduate that will always be stuck in frat mode. When I’m not at school, I help my mother out during the summers. We clean the ridiculous house, and revel in the fact that Windex is our signature scent.
Occasionally, my half-siblings dart around us and make small talk. My mother is usually silent but I talk back. I have two brothers and a sister, I figure that if I engage, I’ll have less of a complex in the future.
That being said, Josh is a dick. He’s always pawing at me and, maybe he doesn’t realise that he’s pining for some kind of incestuous relationship but still, it’s irritating.
It’s why his family is blown apart in one small exchange.
I finally decide that enough is enough.
“Hey, Belle,” Josh calls when he sees me wiping down the countertop. My mother is in the distance, humming as she scrubs the oven clean. She’s always humming, always stuck in a fantasy land where her life is not her own.
I ignore him because I’ve told him not to call me that a thousand times. I’m not a fucking Disney character, I’m someone who’s angry at the world. That’s the antithesis of Disney.
Anyway, Josh doesn’t take too kindly to this treatment. With our father as a perfect example, Josh is rude, demanding and hostile if you don’t grant him the attention he desperately seeks.
“You know, your place here isn’t certain,” Josh sneers, just as Mark, my other brother walks in. He’s always been the nicer one. Quietly insane as opposed to loudly batshit like Josh. When you have money, sanity isn’t necessary, at least that’s what these people have led me to believe.
“Oh, yeah, what makes you say that?” I ask him. I can see my mother shooting me warning looks but she should know that it’s futile.
I’m a loose cannon, I’m about to hit strike.
Josh smiles cruelly. “I say one word and you’re gone. Poof! Like magic.”
Mark pauses from where he’s helping himself to coffee and looks between is nervously.
“Josh, shut up,” he tells his brother. It’s about as effective as throwing a bouncy ball into jello.
“No, she wants to have an attitude, she should be able to face the consequences.”
The sad thing is that my mother can only watch on. There’s no defense, no words of support and I can’t blame her. She can’t do anything, but I can. I didn’t sign anything eighteen years ago.
“I’m not going anywhere, Josh,” I say with certainty. “There’s a reason that we’ve been here for as long as we have. And it’s not job security, Joshy.”
The sad thing is that before I grew up and realised that I didn’t have the same toys of clothes as the others, we all used to play together. We all got along in that way that kids do. In many ways, I miss being that innocent. I miss being ignorant to the truth, because life has been one huge sinking pit of misery since I found out just how it was that I came to be in this world.
Josh turns to gave me head on. “What is it then?”
“We’re related, fuckface,” I spit out ineloquently. That’s just me, I resort to sounding like a Seth Rogen movie when I get mad. It must be a downside of not being able to attend fancy private schools like my siblings.
“Your precious father had an affair with my mom and surprise, I was the result of it.”
Josh jumps back like he’s been scalded and even Mark seems frozen. My mother gasps and runs out of the room. Truthfully, I’m surprised that she didn’t bolt earlier.
“You’re lying,” Josh whispers.”Dad wouldn’t…”
“There aren’t many women that ‘Dad’ wouldn’t do,” I say snidely. “It’s sickening really.”
I’ve never really been good at picking up social cues and knowing when to stop and that’s evident when Josh lunges forward and swipes at the air in front of my face. The only reason that he misses is because Mark is holding him back.
Josh so looks shaken up, his lips trembling and eyes downcast that I actually begin to feel sorry for him. That sickens me because I’ve had to deal with his nasty behaviour since I hit puberty and I was pushed into this. I should be the one who’s upset, not him. Not him.
“Why would you tell us that?” Mark asks softly. He doesn’t seem surprised, but part of me suspects that he’s always known. He’s always been the smartest one.
I shrug, because Josh’s shitty behaviour aside, there’s one main reason that I’ve been struggling to hold my tongue. My mother. I may have a ton of issues with her, but she deserves better than this. I’m old enough to to take care of myself (barely), but I’m going to need her over the next few years. I’m going to cry on her shoulder, beg her for handouts and advice that I won’t heed. I can’t do that if I don’t respect her. If she’s not freed herself of this messed up situation.
“Well, for one, Josh thinks violating my space is cool, that’s a huge reason right there. It’s not so fun when you’re feeling up your own flesh and blood, is it?”
“I…” Josh trails off for the first time in his life and at least has the decency to look ashamed.
“Secondly, I know that you guys like to think that you have this picture perfect life, but you don’t. The maid isn’t a maid, and this house isn’t a home. The sooner we all admit that, the better.”
With that, I walk out and come face to face with the man that’s avoided me for the past eighteen years.
He looks panicked, his blue eyes wide with fear and something that resembles regret.
It’s not for me, though. It never is. I push past him and he lets me go.
He doesn’t call me back or make any attempt to atone for a lifetime of neglect.
He never will.
It’s then that I vow to bring him down if it’s the last thing I do.
By the time I’m done with him, he’s going to feel as alone as he’s made me feel throughout my entire life.
They say revenge makes you bitter, but what difference does it make when life has been clouded in a heavy sourness since the beginning?