Sunday, January 17, 2016
Caption: Her Proper Station in Life
Maria walked a few paces behind her mistress, feeling the slight trail of her French perfume in the air. She couldn’t help but stare at her perfectly coiffed golden mane, her manicured hands, her designer leather jacket, her stiletto high heels that forced her hips to sway sexily with each step. To an outside observer, the contrast between them couldn’t be greater: the mistress was young, rich and beautiful; the maid was a much older woman in her 50s – old enough to be her mistress’s mother. One was picture perfect; the other was plain looking, her skin showing unmistakable signs of age and hard menial work. One was dressed to the nines; the other was wearing a traditional maid’s uniform that announced to the world loud and clear that she was nothing than a simple domestic.
Yet, the looks were deceiving. For starters, the women were about same age. Furthermore, until about a year ago, the mistress was working for the maid.
It was supposed to be a simple cosmetics procedure. It’s not like 23-year Carmen Delgado, an up-and-coming Hollywood starlet, needed to go under the knife to improve her looks anyway. Just some minor alterations to make her even more perfect. Needless to say, all done in secret, away from the cameras of the paparazzi and under an assumed name. Only her agent Michael and her maid Rosie were supposed to know. Carmen could still remember that fateful day a year ago. She woke up after the surgery and immediately felt that something was wrong. Very wrong.
Apparently a grave mistake was made by the doctor who used a wrong serum during the treatment, which led to a severe allergic reaction and an infection, sending Carmen into a coma and leaving her permanently disfigured. Attempts were made to restore her appearance, but with very little success: Carmen’s once flawless skin was now wrinkled and reddened; her face, once the swelling eased, was that of a middle-aged woman – and not a very well-preserved one at that.
Her career was now over. Not only that: once the story goes out she’d be dragged around the media, with her before and after photos in every tabloid and every TV channel in the land. She just couldn’t let it happen. Then Michael, her agent, offered a solution. It was crazy enough to actually work. Rosie would assume her place for the time being. They looked similar enough and the clinic, even less interested in publicizing their botched operation, would conduct surgery to turn Rosie into a copy of the actress. Carmen was too emotionally weak to protest the plan and couldn’t offer a better solution.
So the wheels were set in motion. Following a highly successful surgery – the clinic was really trying to make it up – Rosie was drilled in the art of being Carmen Delgado. As for the original Carmen, she had to stay by her side, giving her all the guidance her former maid needed. A new identity was created for her of that of Maria, Carmen’s maid. Needless to say, her new documents now showed her as a 55-year old woman. To add insult to injury, the doctors warned her that her skin has been damaged and she could no longer use make up for fear of a strong allergic reaction. That meant that she was forever stuck with her new face.
It wasn’t long before the new Carmen fully assumed her role. She was happy to have her dutiful maid by her side – provided she was properly attired in her uniform, of course.