The first time He saw Lily…she almost drowned.
“Exaggeration, much?” Lily drawled.
He saw Lily jump into the lake behind Her McMansion and just disappear. He jumped into the piercing icy-cold water with his thermals, jeans, thick socks, snow boots, flannel shirt, a hoodie sweat shirt, and a winter jacket.
As He floundered trying to be a hero He heard loud, mocking laughter. And saw Lily. Tiny. Maybe 5-feet tall wearing a thin long pink wet-maxidress clinging to her hour-glass figure.
“You idiot!” he screamed. “I thought you drowned!”
“Exaggeration, much?” A serene Lily drawled and dragged him out of the frigid soaking abyss.
“I’m Lily,” she dropped casually, and walked Him to a little unobtrusive outhouse that stood in a dingy corner behind Her McMansion.
The cozy abode was one large square room divided by makeshift room dividers into a sofa, a single countertop with an induction cooktop, a toilet, a tiny barely-can-stand shower stall, and a queen-size bed to the left. The décor looked familiar. The worn-out threadbare red couch was once in Her bedroom. As were the frayed-at-the-edges faded brown velvet cushions. The wobbly golden Ikea lamp She’d trashed stood by the broken fourth leg of the bed propped by Agatha Christie novels.
The hot draft from the electric heater warmed him.
“Who are you?” He asked incredulously. “I’ve come here many times but I’ve never seen you before.”
“I’m Her house help. My mother is Her housekeeper.”
She whistled Jagged Little Pill and put the kettle on when he noticed the freckles. Three spots on her chin, two under her left eyelid, and a smattering across her nose.
“Not freckles. Acne scars. I’m lucky. I’m so dark the scars barely show,” she shrugged.
They met again. And fought.
“Don’t wear reds and pinks!” He complained. “Yellow will suit you better,” He advised pompously.
“Fuck off! I love pink. I’ll wear pink.”
While She raved and ranted about inequality, She hid Lily and her mother in Her backyard. “We’re treated well,” Lily insisted. “She just doesn’t ‘see’ us. We’re invisible.”
They were outside. A mangy mutt sidled up like a coquette, purred and rubbed itself against Lily’s leg. The little flirt, he raged with pain. Lily melted and gave the wretch chicken fingers she’d saved for herself.
“I’ll graduate and get the fuck out.” Lily announced.
His heart sunk.
She took on everyone, planned every hour, listened to no one. But She changed and wore yellow when it didn’t suit Her just for Him. Lily cared for no one, what’s-for-dinner was the most she planned, and fuck-off was her favorite thing to say.
Lily put out her arms with the eagerness of a life yet to begin. “I can’t wait to leave!” Lily laughed out loud in delight. Lily’s long dark plait did a little jig over her behind as her entire body shook with raw, animal, raucous laughter. Lily chortled, hugged and kissed the mutt and beamed.
And He fell head over heels in love.
Roopa has a regular weekly opinion column on Elephant Journal. Her fiction is published on Eksentrika, Kitaab, Women’s Web and more. She also writes humor and is published on Slackjaw, Frazzled, Greener Pastures Magazine and more. Check out her writing on her personal page at www.themessyoptimist.com
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