I come awake slowly, squinting at the sunlight streaming through a slit in the curtains.
He’s in the room, watching me with a odd smile on his face.
“Good Morning”, he says, “Slept well?” I shrug my answer as I slip out of the bed and walk towards the sink for a drink of water. My throat feels parched and scratchy. I wonder if I’m coming down with something. I scratch myself and yawn, sitting down at the foot of the bed.
“What are your plans for today?”, he asks.
“I’m thinking of visiting Mrs Palmer at the school. I told her at church that I would be willing to help with the garden; it would do me well to get out into the sun”.
“Ah, Mrs Palmer. That old bat is still around. I never liked her, you know. Hit me with a ruler for putting frogs in Mary’s desk. Surely she realised it was a silly joss!”
“I know. But Mary is a fragile girl and it gave her the vapours. That was inconsiderate”.
“How can a little fun be inconsiderate? Stop being so starchy, Starchy Pants!”, he replied, shoving me on the shoulder. ‘You really ought to loosen up sometimes. This seriousness will make you old before your time”, he laughed, bouncing onto the bed beside me.
I sigh, falling back into the sheets. William can be high strung and exhausting. I felt the beginnings of a headache.
He continues to bounce on the bed. Suddenly he reaches over and slaps me in the face.
“What the heck is that for”, I respond, rubbing my stinging cheek. He laughs and slaps me on the head.
I lunge at him and we’re falling to the floor, grabbing and punching at each other.
“Stop it!”, Momma shouts rushing into the room. She grabs me into her arms sobbing as she rubs at my hands.
“He’s at it again! I cannot handle his provocation! Please, Mother you have to get him out of here”, I cry into her shoulder as she attempts to soothe me.
“I know, I know”, she responds. “Its hard, I know. Just ignore him if you can.”
Mr Mac appears at the door, a thunderous look on his face.
“Martha, you promised that there would be none of this! I will not have this sort of commotion in my house! What in the devil is wrong with him?”
“I will take care of it, Patrick. Please, leave us alone for a moment”.
He looks at me and with obvious displeasure, walks out and closes the door to the curiosity of the other maids.