“When you left on Monday, I was so angry, I didn’t give you a chance to explain”
The laundry, my hair — bozhe moy — the fridge.
Before my brain could register that my boss was standing at my door and what in the world is she doing here, I whipped around to the kitchen, which was in full view from the apartment’s entrance, and cast a frantic glance at the fridge.
My stomach sank. It was open.
I’d been begging Benish to organize his food magazines and get rid of some so the fridge could actually close, but no, he kept stuffing more and more inside, revealing that our fridge was not a fridge but a mini library, and announcing to Yocheved that there was no food in the house.
“I called on my way over,” Yocheved began awkwardly. “There was no answer. I just wanted to drop this off, you left it in the boutique…?”
She held out my bag.
Three days, and I hadn’t even realized my bag was missing.
“And this,” she said. “Your paycheck for this week.”
“Th-thank you,” I managed to reply.
“Who’s there at the door?” Mama called.
I flushed. “For me, Mama,” I muttered. “I’ll be right back.”
Yocheved squinted. “Is that your mother?”
“My husband’s mother.”
“She lives here?”
“N-no. Yes. I mean, for now.”
For a moment, we stood in silence, avoiding each other’s eyes. Yocheved adjusted her bag over her shoulder, that crossbody bag all her customers carried these days, doing a whole dance to get it on and off.
She swallowed, shifting her weight. “Do you have a moment to talk?”
What did she want, to yell some more? She’d fired me already, was my punishment not over?
A horrible thought occurred to me. Was Yocheved going to ask me to pay for the work I’d done? Did she consider the Dratler gown hers, because she’d drawn it?
I trembled. She couldn’t — I couldn’t — the money was long gone, and besides, I’d done all the work, it was only her idea.
“We could talk another time, if you prefer,” Yocheved said.
“It’s… okay.” I propped the bag of laundry against the wall. “Come inside.”
I directed her to the dining room. She paused as we passed the kitchen, her eyes swiftly sweeping the place. Her brows furrowed, and she may as well have stated what she was obviously thinking. What kind of dysfunctional woman did I have working in my boutique?
Yocheved took a seat and cleared her throat. “When you left on Monday, I was so angry, I didn’t give you a chance to explain.” She toyed with the strap of her bag. “Mina says you only did alterations on the gown?”
Ahh… Mina said…
(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 685)
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