That rusty brown crust — how inviting. My hand inched forward and in a second, a stinging pain rose up to my arm. My hand stood paralysed in the direction of the brown treasure. I looked up and she was there. Her frown and big blue eyes hit right to my heart. I stumbled behind as my heart skipped a beat, toppling over a whole stack of hand-woven baskets.

“You little wretch!” She screamed. I scampered to my feet and began arranging the baskets neatly.

“I’m sorry ma’am,” I muttered under my breath.

I turned around. She had her eyes fixed on me, all the time. I adjusted my apron and cleared my throat, forcing a faint smile afterwards.

“Dishes, now,” she ordered as she gestured towards the kitchen with her thumb.

I walked over but took a quick glance at my treasure, before turning into the kitchen.

I stared at the stack of cups and plates in the sink, and swallowed. No chance now.

The clock struck 12 and the rumblings increased. Stop it. You can’t have it. Enough.

15 minutes later, I heaved a sigh of relief. The sink was sparkling clean. I removed the gloves and hung them to dry. In no less than a minute, she hollered from the laundry room.

“Are you washing the dishes for the entire week? Get your butt right here and iron these dresses. They need to be delivered by three later!”

I wiped the sweat off my forehead and charged into the laundry room where I spent the next hour ironing three consignments of dresses ma’am had sewn them by herself.

“Alright, tie all these up in that bag and deliver them to Lady Nancy’s. Don’t forget the 10 baskets you almost destroyed too,” she ordered again. “Those baskets better not be spoilt!”

After my obligatory ‘yes ma’am’, I rested the huge bundle of dresses over my shoulders and slowly walked into the living room to pick up the baskets. One more glance maybe? No. No. Yes, just once.

Gone. Cleaned. Gone.

I dipped my head and left for Lady Nancy’s with the world on my shoulders.

Three exasperating hours later, I returned.

Ma’am sat on her rocking chair, knitting what seemed like her hundredth pair of mittens. Can’t she knit herself a beanie for a change?

“Ma’am, all delivered. Here’s her payment.”

“Leave them here. You may leave after that.”

I walked over and slowly placed the envelope down onto the coffee table, ensuring I didn’t make the mistake of dropping the coins to the floor.

As I made my way out, ma’am called from behind.

“Oh, wait. There is something for you in the kitchen. Take it and leave. It’s next to the stove.”

No. Don’t give me your month’s list of groceries please.

I entered the kitchen and my eyes widened. My brown crusty treasure. Next to the stove. I gasped… rather loudly.

“Eat it on the way home. Don’t make a mess in the kitchen!” She yelled.

I grinned as I snatched the brown crusty loaf of multi-oatmeal bread and left the house.



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