When I asked her her name, her reply was
simple – “Esther”. I didn’t remember to ask
for her last name and she never told me. So
I just knew her as Esther. From that
moment when she walked into my living
room for the very first time ever, I never
stopped feeling that there was something
rather awkward about her. She just did not
add up for me at all; for reasons I just
couldn’t place a finger on. It wasn’t
because of her appearance – she was
unimaginably decorous and well-mannered.
It wasn’t about how she spoke too, for she
was eloquently tailored. It wasn’t even
about her poise, because she looked
generally compact, and easily beamed in
smiles if there was any reason to. So it
wasn’t any of those at all, and I was very
sure it wasn’t. But what it was, I still
couldn’t tell. All I could tell was that Esther
was different. Of all the housegirls I had
ever kept in my home, she was totally
distinctive. And apart from the seeming
mystery that surrounded her person, she
was also different in so many other ways.
I was expecting a girl quite alright. A
housegirl. Of which, I had told my mum who
was at the village, to help me find someone.
The last two girls I had stayed with, were all
from her, and they were really really good
girls. They only had to leave and return
back to their parents just because their
people wanted them back and not because I
wanted them to leave. So, I’d be right if I
say that I have had a bit of luck with
housegirls and was yet to experience all the
bad things a lot of fellow mothers keep
telling me about staying with house-helps.
Moreover, my mom is a generally shrewd
person, and has never been one to work by
assumptions. She always says she’s never
failed to visit the girl’s home as well as
speak with people who know her before
deciding on bringing her to stay with her
daughter. And it has always paid off
I was on my first issue, after two
pregnancies (lost my first child just after
birth), and having these girls at the time
made things much simpler for me. So,
barely days after the last one left my house,
I began pestering my mum – who was also
staying with me as at that time – to help
me get another girl. She agreed.
It was just a day after she had left for the
village, that Esther knocked on my door.
While it felt strange, given mum could have
barely been able to find a girl in just 24
hours, I eventually relaxed when she
explained that it was my mother that
directed her to my place. Moreover, mum
had no cell phone, as I hadn’t bought her
one yet – bearing in mind how expensive it
was back then in 1999 – so it was just
difficult to confirm what the young lady
before me was saying.
But considering how desperate I was for a
housegirl, I knew I needed to accept her in;
even with the apparent oddities surrounding
her person. She indeed looked very different
from the other girls that had stayed with
me; even in looks too. She was distinctly
good-looking, sharply contrasting what I
had ever had in my house; with very thick
eye brows that beautifully curled in at every
facial expression she made.
Her skin was peculiar too; caramel brown in
precise; as against that of the previous girls
who were very fair. She appeared older as
well, and did confirm she was 22, when I
asked; and with an SSCE certificate (the
previous girls were only 17 and 19
respectively, and hadn’t even seen the walls
of a school before coming to stay with me).
So for Esther, her desire was to be put
through the higher institution and not to
learn a trade like the other girls. And
equally unlike these ones who were Ibo, she
Anyways, Esther’s sojourn in my house
would begin with a beautiful reward – her
exceptional diligence at carrying out chores
around the house! She was simply good!
From doing dishes, up to more tasking
chores like washing my husband’s car; she
always carried them out without complain.
This was what began endearing me to her.
And by the time I did realize she was also
very trustworthy, and truthful, I quite knew I
had not just a housegirl, but a companion!
I began to make her feel more comfortable
around me, bringing her into my bedroom
for long chitchats after dinner, just before
bedtime. That still didn’t make her any less
respectful, and she carried out every single
instruction I left her with, without any
complains or excuses. Our relationship grew
so much, that even my own little kid, began
preferring her over me! As little as he was,
he would cry so much anytime Esther tried
handing him over to me in order to carry
out one task or the other. While it
sometimes looked embarrassing, it also felt
really good knowing that your housegirl
was indeed one your kid felt very
This certainty, cemented my rapport with
her. And it only got better the day I heard
her singing in the bathroom, while taking
her bath! It turned out to be beautiful
coincidence given she was actually singing
Shania Twain’s ‘Wild And Wicked’; a song I
had loved from the first day I heard it!
Moreover, it wasn’t just about hearing the
song, but the striking similarity between her
voice and that of the actual lady who did
the song! Being someone who isn’t exactly
blessed with a wonderful voice, I have
grown to cherish a beautiful one whenever I
find it! Esther’s voice was simply
immaculate, and I didn’t hesitate to heap
praises on her as she stepped into the
living room after bathing and changing
“Thank you ma.” she said, smiling and
revealing her ever radiant set of teeth.
I expected her to go on and explain from
which of her parents she got the gift of
singing from, but she didn’t. Esther never
talked about her parents, and I was even
scared to ask her, lest it all went south.
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