Friday, May 26, 2017

Story: Daphne And The White Apron. Part 3.

by Monica Graz

They were sitting around the kitchen table having their midmorning coffee, Lita dressed in her morning uniform having a break from her endless and mundane house chores and Magda dressed elegantly, ready to go out for another visit to a gallery or a museum.  
Magda had a sip of her coffee and scrutinised Lita with her eyes, “You look quite relaxed now Lita, you wear your uniform as if you belong to it, I never expected that you would be such a natural as a domestic.”
Lita, blushed but smiled mischievously and said, “Thank you, Miss Magda. You are right, I feel quite natural in that role as if I was doing it all my life, I don’t know what it is, I probably was a servant in my previous life.”
This time Magda chuckled and added, “I think you are probably correct, some of my Buddhist friends here in London would fully endorse that since they firmly believe in reincarnation.”

She had another sip and added, “But let’s talk about more practical matters. Have you been in contact with the Arnellos family recently? I haven’t heard any news from Daphne’s father since before you came to work for the family.”
Magda continued her policy of separating Lita the maid from Daphne the rich heiress and Daphne herself was accepting that attitude from the very beginning so her answer was on the same wave length.

“Yes Ma’am, Miss Daphne’s father sent an e-mail the other day, he is extremely busy now, he is in a major shipyard in Korea, where he is about to do a ceremonial launching of his latest cargo ship. He asked Miss Daphne to be there but she refused because she is busy working on her PhD.”
Magda felt a bit uneasy hearing that. She certainly didn’t want to be held responsible for Daphne’s possible failure in her studies because of this latest turn of events.
Lita sensed that and although she was feeling guilty for completely abandoning her studies in the past few weeks she hastily said, “We shouldn’t worry about Miss Daphne’s activities and obligations now, Miss. We both know that Daphne had a mental blockage and couldn’t produce any work so Lita was and still is the answer to that problem. We’ll deal with the Arnellos family when the time comes and I‘m certain that we’ll find some suitable answers.”
Magda felt that Daphne was trying to reassure her that they were not doing anything dangerous or extreme and decided to move a step further with Lita’s ‘education’.
So she said casually, “I have been thinking, Lita, that you probably should expose yourself more to the outside world as a maid. I know that you go out in your uniform doing the shopping but this is not enough. I thought it would be good if you could interact with other maids and people at the same level of the social ladder. Do you agree with that idea?”
Lita felt the familiar excitement rising as she managed to ask, “What do you have in mind, Miss?”
“Well, I have a lady friend from Poland who works in one of the top galleries in Chelsea. She is an art historian and a critic and acts as a curator for the exhibitions hosted in the gallery,” Magda replied and stopped briefly to check Lita’s reaction.
Lita looked puzzled thinking why Magda was telling her all that. She certainly was not at all involved in the art world and her knowledge in that field was minimal.
Magda continued, a cunning smile in her face, “The owner of the gallery is a very rich Arab from Qatar who lives with his family in a big mansion in Mayfair not far from here. They employ a Filipina as a live-in maid but they need an outside help three days a week. It is a large house and a family with three children so the poor Filipina can’t cope with the work. She definitely needs an outside assistant and this could be you, if you agree of course.”
Now Lita understood what Magda was trying to tell her all along and the familiar butterflies in her stomach were back in full action. Could she actually work as a maid next to a Filipina for another employer who would have no idea who she really was? That was too much to absorb and too exciting to believe.
She was blushing all over as she looked questioningly to Magda not knowing what to say.
Magda, sensing Lita’s excitement and eagerness to hear more, continued with a smirk on her face, “It’s quite simple really. Every second day, say Monday, Wednesday and Friday, you will be there at 9.00 am and you will work until 5.00 pm, the perfect part-time cleaner’s job. You can easily walk there and back. You can go with your uniform on, no point of losing time on changing clothes, you will walk from one maid’s job to another maid’s job.”
Lita looked quite astonished. This was a far too big step to take. Working as a maid in another house next to a Filipina maid? Is this a dream coming true for her? She fidgeted with her apron as she looked questioningly towards Magda, “But Miss Magda, how we are going to cope with the paper work? Wouldn’t I need an employment contract? And what name I’m going to use? Don’t you think it could be risky?”
Magda had anticipated those questions and answered quickly without thinking, “They don’t want any paper work done, they are rich Arabs and they hate dealing with the British bureaucracy. They already employ legally the Filipina maid and by the way her name is Rosie, short for Rosario. You are going to be paid in cash at the end of each day, 7 pounds an hour which is below the going rate but as my Polish friend said to me you will collect untaxable money under the table so you should be quite satisfied. And you will be simply known to them as Lita, no surname needed.”
She chuckled as she remembered something else. “And of course, you will be working next to a Filipina. That will bring memories back from your encounter with Lita 1, the maid of your childhood years who obviously influenced you a lot.”
At that point Lita, looking rather furtive, decided to let out her small secret of the past few weeks since she became the maid in her own house, “You know Miss Magda, ever since I became Lita, remember how I first mentioned to you the ‘ako si Lita’,  I started teaching myself Tagalog with the help of the many existing online programs, the urge is very strong and I  learned quite a bit. I even had some online chats with Filipina maids working in Hong Kong, there is a very big community of Filipino maids there.”
She looked even more furtive as she added, “I only wish that Miss Daphne would be as busy and efficient working on her PhD as I am with my Tagalog lessons.” She consistently continued separating Lita the maid from Daphne the rich heiress.
Magda chuckled once more. This Daphne/Lita creature never ceased to amaze her. She practically was asking to be a Filipina maid now! How odd.  
“Wow! You never stop to amaze me, Lita, dear,” Magda said excitedly.  “Isn’t it a good coincidence that you will be working next to a Filipina? This is your chance to improve your Tagalog and learn also what it really means to be poor and travel to the other end of the world to work as a domestic worker to support a whole family back home. We do to a certain extend the same thing in Poland but Philippines is something else. Nearly one in three women work abroad as maids, nannies or nurses at the best of cases and with the money they send back they support the economy of the whole country.”
A shiver of excitement run through Lita’s spine. Being an anonymous girl simply called Lita, no surname needed, or any paper work for that matter, was ideal for her. She could create her own myth of being the poor uneducated girl who had to work to support her family back home like the Filipinas all over the world. She should probably try to speak in a less posh accent. She could become a less educated girl coming from her crisis-ridden country to the UK to find a better life like the early Greek migrants in the beginning of the 20th century, more than a century ago.
Magda’s intuition picked her thoughts once more, “You should try and speak English in a simpler manner, not using all those fancy words educated people use.  You better try and lose your posh Oxford accent and speak like a foreigner. It will be very simple if you try to limit your vocabulary to 100 to 200 commonly used works, that will do the trick. Could you do that? This is also a clever way to protect Daphne’s identity and promote Lita’s presence.”
“Yes, Miss Madga, I think I could do that,” Lita answered giggling, using for the first time her heavier Greek accent.
“Right then it’s settled.” Magda said, “I’ll call my Polish friend and tell her that you will be in the residence tomorrow morning at nine. Use the traders' entrance in the basement and ring the bell there times so Rosie will let you in.”  
For the first time since they started this conversation Lita had an uncomfortable feeling.  Was she crazy appearing in public and exposing herself using Lita’s persona? What if she was recognised by the many friends of her father in London? What if the rich Arab family knew about her father who was wheeling and dealing with the rich Arab world?
But then she remembered what Magda already mentioned to her and what she felt herself all those days as she circulated in London doing her shopping in her maid’s uniform. She was practically invisible, nobody was paying attention to her. She was just another working girl clearly running errands for her employers.
The excitement shiver replaced once more her worries and she simply answered to Magda, “I better go on with my chores, lots to do since I’ll be working out tomorrow.”
“Good girl,” Magda answered in a condescending manner, “Off you go then.”


  1. if only you post this story at least on week basis....

  2. From a slow sweet and evocative start this tale is gathering momentum perfectly, lita appreciating Magdas efforts that will bring about a 'real life' experience for her.

    Rosie will give lita a role model to mould herself upon, from a peer perspective rather than as a observer when she was Daphne.

    The final interaction by Magda to lita of "Good girl, off you go then" set out the power exchange that has developed beautifully, a few simple words but exuding such control.

    So looking forward to the next part, your literary efforts are very much appreciated,

    1. 'Concur with your interpretations and projections for the story, Betsy.

      We may also surmise that when Daphne sufficiently identifies with her alter ego Lita, in her professional occupation, a potential for cognitive adjustment upon Daphne (now Lita, per "ako si Lita") may take place, and Lita will "forget" that Daphne has a PhD thesis in process to work on, and may refuse by neglect to shore up that side of her personality. This obligation (to pursue her PhD) may somehow be defaulted upon by the "Daphne" reality, leaving Lita of necessity to become legitimized as a quasi Filipina maid.

      After all, Daphne's trajectory of identification is expressed by, "Ako si Lita"... that is being internalized daily, is it not? ;) [And it's also what she wants, right?] :)

    2. Robyna. Your take on the possible direction dear lita might go regarding her PhD is indeed a likely reality, and would be a powerfully exciting thing from planned Doctorate to 'lowly' maid, this of course not a fall from grace but a chosen path 'Ako si Lita'.

      Cognitive adjustment indeed a possibility, this of course would be aided/reinforced by the behavioural adjustments Daphne has and will make living/being lita.

      The above i feel has even greater potential as lita will be in service in the 'real' paid world, Daphne is a non entity in that scenario she is lita the second maid.

      Nature/nurture vs choice and cognitive adjustment, i feel the latter will prevail as Magda has vested interest in ensuring it does, and frankly Magda has had to do little to reach the stage we are at present, she has many psychological tools in her arsenal should she wish/need to use them.

    3. 'Nice comment from you, Betsy.
      'Appreciate your reference to Magda (how can we forget about her?).

      It could be noted that while Daphne is away (as off in "Ako si Lita" land) -- doing what only Lita is adept at doing in her role as a maid (and working on her foreign accent), Magda should at least retain her own job security in maintaining Daphne's home.

      Of course, Magda will still be interested in keeping tabs on Lita, as her assumed mistress, and instigator in facilitating Daphne's societal demise -- under the rubric of "in for a penny; in for a pound" (lol). ;)

    4. Insightful take on things as always by you Robyna.
      We must not forget the possible impact Daphnes father might have somewhere in the tale, i am sure Daphne would be 'Daddys little princess', so he will have expectations of Daphne post PhD.
      Greek society puts a lot of emphasis on family/marriage, so expectation could be that education now having been covered, then marriage might be next 'expected' life milestone for Daphne.
      Will "ako si Lita" or family expectations prevail?...3 guesses as to this readers preferred outcome:)

  3. Thank you Betsy and Robyna for the constructive dialogue you started in this blog. You give me extra ideas and thoughts.
    I hope I'll be able to send the next episode fairly soon.
    Monica G.

    1. Monica it is me who should say thank you for this wonderful story of Daphnes consensual descent into a servile role, under the watchful and facilitating eye of Magda.
      The effort of commenting, pales compared to the diligence you have shown in writing this story.
      Monica you are deserving of all plaudits for this story

    2. Monica G., greetings ~

      It's considered an honor to receive a comment from so highly esteemed an author as you are perceived in my mind, so thank you for your kind words.

      I consider your story about Daphne, et al, to be delightfully urgent in moving dear Daphne in the direction she as Lita is being channeled to pursue, at the "encouragement" of Magda. Lita's further exposure to the outside world as a mere maid, conjures up in mind really juicy developments for the story, and especially as Daphne herself in character as Lita nurtures her own transformation (and societal demise) with foreign accent development for compelling realism in her role as maid.

      'Look forward to your next episode, Monica, but in keeping with the principle that it's quality, not quantity that counts, where there should be no implied urgency (or rush) to see new chapters. This story has a delightful aura for its natural progression... and as the adage goes for your readers, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder", the added suspense in waiting for the story's progression is gladly and patiently accommodated.

      And by copy of this comment to Betsy, thank you for your critical observations; as I feel we jointly praise Monica's creativity within the typically tantalizing genre of L2M, and on this exquisite story.

      Best wishes, <3
      Byna ~ :D