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He's The Maid

I was that loner kid who read comics when everyone else was playing, listened to the B-sides and watched old movies ... Now I write about it


My heart started racing ...

How could it be that the most qualified person to apply to be my house manager/ housekeeper/ maid was an African American male?

Now don't get me wrong. I am not racist. Not even a little bit. But I was concerned about appearances. As the mother of a 12 year old daughter and a idiot minded ex husband, living in a snobby, bourgeois neighborhood ... Having a man with brown skin coming in and out of my house ... Well, not just coming in and out of my house, but living there as well, because it was a live-in position ...

His name was York.

York Matthews.

My daughter had run others away. About six to be exact. And I wasn't really expecting any different this time around. But then he told me his story. About how he was separated from his wife. About how his job was a dead end job that he'd been stuck in for far too long. How he needed a new start; a chance to do something that could possibly make him happier than he'd been in years ...

"Cleaning my toilets will make you happier than you've been in years?"

He snickered. "Not quite ... I definitely don't get excited about cleaning toilets. But I can do it. And I'm pretty darn good at it. But more than that, I have some super fly recipes that I'd love to try on someone willing to eat them. My wife wasn't willing to try anything new that wasn't in her mama's cooking handbook that's been passed down from bitter woman to bitter woman."

I scrunched up my eyebrows. "Is that nice?" I asked.

He looked down bashfully. "I told you that I need a new start. Before I start to get bitter my darn self."

"Hmmm ...."

"What does that mean? You gonna give me a try?"

I had to turn my head to keep him from seeing my blushing face. Double entendre were my weakness. And to be quite honest, I was feeling weak around him in general. Because if nothing else, the man was fine. And I hadn't been ... handled ... in a very long time. But that's not what he was here for. He was here for a job. And I had to decide whether or not I was going to give him one or not ... Double entendre ... Sheesh ....


D*%n! This dude can cook his a** off ... And my daughter is the most picky eater that you'd ever want to encounter in life. But here she was eating stuffed salmon with Brussels sprouts on the side. And she was killing it. I mean, literally, devouring it. And I was totally without words.

Izzie did not like people usually.

She basically tolerated folks. But this guy she seemed to take to almost immediately. But that was no doubt due to him not trying so hard like the other applicants had. Going so far as to ignore her for the most part. And somehow she was drawn in by sheer curiosity ... Showing him where the pots and pans and cooking utensils were when he asked. Then she found herself assisting him. Something that she'd never seemed interested in before. But then it occurred to me that maybe I'd never invited her to do so before. Never encouraged her to do so before. Probably because I'm not much of a cook and we lived off of carry-outs, restaurants and prepared meals that could be microwaved from the grocery store.

I had to excuse myself from the kitchen when I saw them working together. Here was my little girl, who used to cut herself ... My moody, gothic little girl ... And she was acting -- normal. Shining beneath the attention of this man who was still a stranger to us, but perhaps not so strange after all.

He seemed to like his room ... Across from mine. Not behind the laundry room or wherever like Alice on The Brady Bunch. Instead, a former guest room, now his room. A room that I thought would be used by a very old lady or a young college student. Not a handsome, virile, man's man .... Sheesh again ...

Him liking the room and him bonding with Izzie, made me invite him to sit down to eat with us. The ones before him choosing to eat in the kitchen or in their room. But here he was, filling a space ... Feeling like a member of the family ... It was way too surreal ... Yet it was also just right, based on the content look on my daughter's face. The same daughter that usually ate her food in her bedroom or in front of the living room tv. But on his gentle command, she'd set the table and sat down without any pushback of any sort. Gosh. This man must be magic . Plus, she was talking. The same girl that usually only offered one word answers, if any words at all ... was talking.

"So how many kids do you have?" she asked.

"Izzie ...," I chided

"Naw, it's cool ... I have four boys."

"And do they know that you're going to be living with us?"

"The three eldest ones aren't really communicating with me. But the youngest, I stay in contact with. I haven't told him about this job, or that I was even applying for it. But he knows that I'm safe. And as long as I answer when he calls, I suppose that he doesn't worry."

"That's what's up ... So how long have you and your wife been separated?"


"A few months now."

"So ... Are you looking to get back with her?"


York smiled and gestured to me that it was okay.

"Why do you ask?"

Now Izzie looked downward and bashful. "Well ... I don't wanna get used to you and then you up and quit ... I mean .... We don't usually eat this good," she said softly.

I felt like tearing up again. Because I had sense enough to know that it wasn't just about the food. It was about having a male figure in her life that she could feel close to; safe with. Her father having been an utter disappointment throughout her whole life. And suddenly I too found myself hoping that he wouldn't leave.


© 2022 LaZeric Freeman

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