The next morning, our maid, Sujatmi (Suja), was knocking on the door an hour early. We'd had Suja for about 5 years, she came three mornings a week, which is enough for us. Maids in Indonesia are usually country girls from families that can't afford them or who want to get them out to work to bring in some hard currency. Parents try to place them with richer relatives when their about twelve or thirteen years old. If they can't do that by the time they reach eighteen, they send them to the city to get work as a maid. I've seen these girls in the homes of Indonesian friends and whereas some are welcomed as an additional member of the family, albeit a working one, others are treated poorly.
All expat accommodation has quarters for maids. It usually consists of a bedroom and shower the other side of the kitchen, i.e. there would be an entry into the kitchen from the main part of the house and a door the other side leading to the maid's quarters. Some expats, especially those with kids have 'live in maids' and most maids prefer the security that arrangement brings. Others do days here and half days there which earns them more money but is less secure. Suja was probably unable to get a 'live in job' because she has a child.
Pam dealt with the maids, I kept well clear as Pam was always moaning about them being lazy or stealing food. I knew Suja was 25 years old. I'd seen her daughter occasionally, she looked to be about twelve years old. Pam had told me the girl was retarded, or whatever the politically correct term is now.
Suja looked like she was wearing her Sunday clothes. "Mr Edward can I speak with you?" she asked. The maids don't look at you when they speak to you, I'm not sure if it's a respect thing or whether they're frightened you're going to jump their bones. Of course Suja knew Pam was in the UK, they know everything that's going on.
Suja asked me if she could live in the maid's quarters offering to work for free for the accommodation. I explained how Pam didn't like other people living in the house. She explained that she'd been sleeping in the quarters of one of her employers, that she had to move out when their contract finished and they were returning to America. She was living in a hovel in one of the shanty towns. She was bunking in with friends, sleeping on their floor but they'd told her she must find somewhere soon. I felt sorry for her but I didn't need trouble or grief from Pam. She started crying. "Please, please Mr Edward, just for a short time, I'll find somewhere soon." "Let me think about it," I told her. "Thank you, thank you," she said dropping to her knees and kissing my hand. "Suja. I'm not promising anything," I said.
I thought I'd ask around, see if anybody needed a live in maid. I tried but as soon as they heard that she had a kid, they were happy to give her work but they wouldn't have them live in.
I mentioned it to Pam during one of our telephone calls and her attitude was that it was on my head if anything went missing and she had to be out of the house before she got back.
Wednesday morning Suja was there bright and early again. "Suja, I have some good news and some bad news for you, I think I have found you some extra work with colleagues but none of them want a live in maid," I told her. I gave her the names and telephone numbers of three colleagues. "You can use my phone to call them and discuss what they want. Have you found yourself somewhere to stay?" I asked. "No Mr Edward" she replied. "OK Suja this is the deal," I said. "You can stay here temporarily." I stressed it must be temporary and that she must get your own place as soon as she could. "If Pam comes back before you find somewhere you must leave, do you understand Suja, you can not stay here when Pam comes back." "Yes sir," she replied.
"And, whilst you're here, you and your daughter must stay in your quarters when I am in the house, unless you're cleaning of course, I mean I don't want you or your daughter wondering round when I'm here," I instructed. "Also you must not take any of my food, but you can use the washing machine and you can keep your food in my fridge but you mustn't take anything that belongs to me." "You can use the telephone but only for local calls." "With regards to what I pay you, I know you offered to work for free but I will continue to pay you as normal so that you are able to get your own place more quickly, do you understand?" I asked with a stern purpose. "Yes Mr. Edward," she sobbed.
That afternoon I get a call from Sarah. "Hi Eddie, how are you?" "Fine, what's new?" I replied. "George is on the 8am flight to Surabaya tomorrow, I'm dropping him at the airport, he's not due back until 5pm Friday," she told me with distinctly excited voice. "Do you want to come to my place or shall I come to yours?" she asked. "Yours might be better, I have a little problem," I replied. "What's that?" she asked in a concerned tone. "I now have a live in maid," I told her. "WHAT!" she screamed. "I know, I know, I'm not happy about it but it's just temporary," I told her. "What do you mean?" she said. I explained the situation with Suja. "You know the longer she's there, the more likely she is to see us together, don't you?" she warned. "I know that, but I'm happy that she has more to lose than we do," to told her. She's a quiet girl and she's absolutely petrified of ending up unemployed and out on the streets." "I hope you're right," she said. "Right, my place it is. I'll call you tomorrow to confirm the arrangements."
I got home to an empty house. I changed, sorted myself a meal and was watching T.V. when I heard a toilet flush in the maid's quarters. Tapping on the door Suja opened it. She'd taken me a my word to shut herself in there whilst I was home - good girl.
"Hello Suja, I just wanted to know if everything was alright." I could see her daughter peeking through the crack in the door. "Is this your daughter?" I asked. "Yes sir," she replied before rattling something off in Indonesian to the girl who came forward. She rattled off again and the little girl, eyes lowered, extended a hand.
"This is Tuti, she will not disturb you," told me with some conviction. I shook her hand. "Tuti, that's a nice name." I told her "How old are you?" "I'm twelve sir" she replied.
She was pretty, average build, about 4' 6" tall with long straight black hair, an olive complexion and big brown eyes. She's wearing a long baggy 'T' shirt which looked like she'd been using as a sleeping shirt. It was so baggy it hid much of any shape of her figure but she looked quite a nice shape. I noted her bra-less little tits pushing her shirt off her chest, clearly she'd passed puberty. She looked like about a year into the shape that little girls have before they turn into big girls.
"Nice to meet you Tuti," I said. "I hope you're going to be a good girl for your mommy," I said, and with that she slid back behind the door. "She's a good girl," Suja said with reassurance. "She's not very clever, but she's good," she explained: "Doctors have told me that she's only seven years old in her head, when she was born we couldn't afford a hospital or doctor and she was a difficult birth." "They told me that her brain was damaged and she cannot develop as quickly as other children," she explained
"She's a lovely girl, Suja, she looks very happy," I told her. "She's very happy to be sleeping here," she replied. "Suja, I want you to be happy here and I'm sure Tuti is a good girl, but you must stay in your quarters when I am in the house," I told her. "Yes sir, thank you Mr Edward," she replied.
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
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