Thu. Feb 8th, 2024

Sequence 38

 

Mattie was sitting at her desk, staring at the photos on her computer. Her eyes were tired. Everyone else had already left, she was working overtime to cover up for the days she had missed work.

 

Her phone rang she picked up and answered without checking who was calling.

 

‘Hello,’ Mattie answered politely.

 

‘Good afternoon Miss Moonga,’ a familiar female voice spoke on the line ‘Good afternoon.’

 

‘I am Mrs. Mumba, calling from Happy Trails Pre School.’ ‘Oh hey, I lost your line, how are you? Is everything okay?’ ‘I am fine, we have a little problem.’ ‘Oh.’

 

‘Your daughter hasn’t been picked from school.’

 

Mattie glanced at her clock, it was 17: 55, ‘What do you mean she hasn’t been picked from school, it’s almost 18.’

 

 

‘I actually left earlier and the teacher on duty just called me a few minutes ago to inform me because she wants to lock up.’ ‘Oh my,’ Mattie felt sick to her stomach.

 

‘So you can quickly rush to the school or send someone to pick her now.’ ‘Thank you so much I am on my way,’ Mattie said before ending the call

 

Mattie stood up quickly, the panic rising as she tried dialing Tess’ line Tess usually picked Trinny from school, what could have happened.

 

‘The dialed number takes no incoming calls,’ was the response she got after dialing the number three times.

 

She shut her computer off and packed away her stuff. Before leaving she locked her office doors and double checked to make sure all the windows and doors were locked.

 

When she reached the parking lot, she climbed behind the wheel and slide the key into the ignition then drove towards the gate.

 

She waited impatiently for the gate to open and when it did, she sped out. She drove to Trinny’s school feeling sick and her heart was beating faster than usual. Parking her car into the driveway of the school and walked in.

 

‘Here comes mummy,’ the teacher told Trinny

 

Mattie stared at her daughter her eyes were red and puffy from crying. She walked over to her and wrapped her arms around her. She hugged her tightly as if her life depended on it.

 

‘I am sorry my baby,’ Mattie said, she could feel tears burning her eyes, she felt like she had failed her child.

 

Then she carried Trinny in her arms and looked at the teacher, ‘Thank you so much for taking care of her,’ she said

 

‘You don’t have to thank me it’s my duty to take care of her.’

 

Mattie pulled some hundred kwacha notes from her pocket and handed them to the teacher, ‘For her penalty fee.’

 

The teacher shook her head, ‘You don’t have to pay me.’

 

‘Please just take it this is my token of appreciation its way past your time to knock off yet you stayed behind and waited for her, who knows what would have happened if you hadn’t been here with her.’ She smiled, ‘Thank you.’

 

‘You are welcome.’

 

She waved goodbye to the teacher and walked back to the car then she opened the back seat and placed Trinny in her car seat.

 

‘Baby,’ she called out of Trinny as she drove

 

Trinny sniffed and responded with silence.

 

‘I am sorry my pumpkin, I didn’t know you were still at school. Forgive mummy okay.’

 

‘Okay,’ she responded in a low tone.

 

When they got home, Mattie unlocked the door and called out to Tess. The apartment was dark.

 

She kicked her shoes off and switched on the lights.

 

‘Tess,’ she called as she wandered through the apartment to her room, she noticed that Tess and Chrissie where nowhere to be seen.

 

Once inside Tess’ room, she noticed that something was somewhat different. She looked around, then it hit her, the closet was empty and all of Tess’ belongings were gone.

 

She was about to walk out of the room when she saw a small folded paper on the bed, she picked it up and unfolded it. It was a note from Tess.

 

‘Hey Auntie Mattie, by the time you read this I will be long gone, please don’t try to look for me. I am thankful for everything you did for me but it’s time for me to move on. I have gone in search of greener pastures, I know this is abrupt but it had to be done. Goodbye. Tess.’

 

She read the note over and over, unable to believe Tess would do this to her. She marched out of the room grabbed her phone and dialed her line again, she got the same response, frustrated she quit trying.

 

‘Mummy, I am hungry,’ Trinny said.

 

‘Come let me change you so I can get supper ready.’

 

She held her hand and walked to her room, she undressed Trinny and made her wear pajamas then she changed into something comfortable and headed to the kitchen to prepare supper.

 

She had just finished cooking and was setting the table when Chrissie walked into the house.

 

‘Hey,’ Mattie said

 

‘Hey sister.’

 

‘How was your day?’

 

‘Great.’

 

‘Tess is gone, where you here when she left?’ ‘What do you mean Tess is gone?’

 

‘She has packed all her things she left me a note saying that she has gone in search of greener pastures.’

 

‘I haven’t been home since morning,’ she said throwing herself on the couch.

 

 

‘Oh, I just find it weird that she would pack and leave just like that, did you perhaps have an argument with her or maybe you said something to offend her.’ Chrissie gave Mattie an angry look.

 

‘Why would you even ask me such a silly thing?’ ‘Well I am just asking.’

 

‘I didn’t argue with your maid, she left because she was tired of you.’ ‘Okay.’

 

‘Anyway I need a favour.’

 

‘What do you want?’ Chrissie asked

 

‘Since Tess is gone, it will take me a while to find a new nanny. I was asking if you can pick her from school for me.’

 

From the look on Chrissie’s face, Mattie knew asking her sister to help her out with Trinny was a mistake.

 

‘Do I look like a nanny?’

 

‘That’s not what I said.’

 

‘And?’

 

‘I just thought you would be willing to help.’

 

‘Just because I am staying in your house doesn’t mean you should turn me into a slave, I am getting married soon I should be relaxing and not looking after some kid.’

 

‘Trinny is not some kid she is my child, your niece.’

 

‘My answer is no, I don’t have time to baby sit her just hire someone or tell Chard to babysit her for you.’

 

Mattie shook her head, ‘I hear you,’ she said.

 

****

 

TBC

 

#############

 

 

THE CLOCK IS TICKING

 

Ella❣

 

.

 

 

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