She was scrubbing the toilet!
SHE was scrubbing the TOILET!
Not hers but someone else’s! And she was doing it for money… in a country which has companies to hire people for this… and where they get the maids to wear uniforms to categorize them as just being the Maids… like the one that she is now.
She has no idea how that happened. But that’s not how things were supposed to go. This is not how her story should have unfolded. This is not what her mama told her back home when she used to tuck her into bed… that small cozy bed, she shared with her sister and brother.
She never told her that when she grows up, she will have to share a room with 20 other girls on double deck beds to sleep for few hours only, so she can make sure her 5-year-old son has a bed of his own and can go to government schools too!
Instead, she was supposed to be a teacher. But she was never going to end up scrubbing the toilets of all those rich, whiny families who seem to come from all over the world. She works on hourly basis, and for so many people from different cultural backgrounds; Egyptians, Americans, Europeans, Arabs, Indians, Asians, you name it. They all have one thing in common; they are all spoilt to an extent that disgusts her. Can’t they just be thankful they don’t need to scrub others’ toilets for money?!
She has to go fix the children’s bedroom now. Well at least, that’s the only part of her job, which she likes; it reminds her of her son. She misses him so. She can still remember the moment when she was signing her two-year contract. Her mind was blank, the voice of her friend beside her echoing in her ear like from another planet, trying to fill her head with magical green-notes, which will enable her to buy anything her son needs. Her mind was somewhere else as she held the pen, as if hypnotized or in a dream– she signed. She stared at her initials, and then she heard her voice, like it was someone else’s, like all of this was happening to someone other than her:
– “So for two years, I can’t go back to see my son!”
– “It’s only two years; they will fly by so fast. And then when you are back, you will get him everything he needs …..”
The voice of her friend faded as they left the labor office and headed towards the street. Wouldn’t it be easier now if that bus hits before it pulls up for its next stop! At least, she won’t have to worry about leaving her son by choice, or feel guilty towards him, if she refuses to spare her dignity to get the money needed to raise him up!
Her back hurts. Her fingers will fall off, if she holds another wet soapy cleaning sponge, and she hasn’t even started with the kitchen yet! Well, only twelve more months to go. Her monopolization ends in another year. Then she will go home.
She will go answer the questions on that silly piece of paper they call Exam, so that her government can recognize her as a good teacher. Because that piece of paper is all the proof they need! She will do just that, and she doesn’t care if for now, she will share her bed with her son and husband. In fact, she will enjoy it. She will savor every second with them, just the three of them… even in a one bedroom house.She will only clean her house; she won’t have to watch her body decay for someone else’s place. She will build hers. Even if it is as slow a process as the turtle’s pace in the rabbit race, no matter how long it takes as long as she doesn’t have to …..
– “Sherry, why are you grumpy all the time? Something wrong? I never see you smile, this is not good at all, am afraid, you are filling the house with a lot of negative vibes,” says the lady of the house, whom she hears all the time moaning about how tiring her desk job is, and how she can’t bear running after her two kids in that big two-story house!
– “No, Ma’am, nothing is wrong ma’am,”
– “Ok, can you try to smile a little, please,”
– “I will smile if you want me to ma’am,”
– “Yes, I do.”
Ok, she will continue to build that house of her relentlessly back home, no matter how long it takes, and with her son and husband next to her side, as long as she won’t have to keep a fake smile on her face for a bigger tip, or worse to keep the job!