The greeting

He arrived home late, and my anxiety had me pacing.  I have been at home all day. My tasks have been completed and I am in need of a fix… I need Sir.  I hear the car pull onto the drive and my pulse quickens. Today is the start of the new protocol that Sir has devised. These are only in play if the boys are in their rooms, which they are, so I move to the spot next to his chair and kneel.

The engine cuts off, and the door opens and closes. I wait … I know he will be retrieving his bag from the back seat. A door opens and closes. My heart speeds up. Eyes down.

I can hear his footsteps outside as he passes the window. Then the front door opens.  I keep my eyes on my knees, in line with the protocol, as he walks in.  He goes straight into the kitchen. He’s taking his time I’m sure… He doesn’t usually take this long. I suddenly realise I am holding my breath and slowly let my breath out. I roll my shoulders to relax them.

He’s coming. I hear him walking in the hallway. The floor is different so I can hear the change in sound. The sound disappears so he’s come into the room.

His feet appear in front of me.

“Good evening,” he says.

“Good evening Sir. I hope your day was pleasant. How may I please you?” I reply. My heart is thudding in my chest.

“My day was fine,” he says, his tone is disappointed. My breath catches .. I didn’t say my greeting correctly.

On my first day. I’d been practicing all day how could I have got it wrong? I am supposed to ask, how was your day, a question not a statement. And I am meant to wait until he has replied before asking the next one. In my eagerness I have rushed and got the phrases wrong. All wrong.

What will Sir do? He hasn’t continued and I realise he is waiting to see if I rectify my mistake. I take a breath.

“How may I please you this evening Sir?”

“First,” he begins,” I wish you to help me get changed. I will then have a glass of orange. Please stand.”

I do as I am instructed and follow him out of the room. I help him out of his shirt and trousers, hanging the trousers in the wardrobe for tomorrow. He has put on his t-shirt and I help him into his lounge pants.

I thank him for letting me be of service and head downstairs to make his drink.

When I come into the living room he is sat in his usual place. I hand him his drink and kneel again in front of him with my eyes still lowered.

“Look at me”

My eyes move to his. I am dreading seeing the disappointment in them. But he is smiling.

“For a first time you did well and you followed my instructions well.” He motions for me to put my head on his knee and I comply. He begins to stroke my hair. As he does I feel my shoulders relax and my breathing slows. A calm settles over me and I feel at peace.

“Do not make the same mistake tomorrow,” he says, “or I will be forced to punish you.  You know the protocol.”

My heart quickens again..

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