My maid is really a wonderful girl and I hate to fire her but . . .

My maid Snikimary, is really a wonderful girl. She is supporting 5 siblings through school because her father's income as a farmer is just not enough to provide even for their most basic needs.

Although a teacher by training, she never taught school. She managed to get her degree by working as a live-in maid for a family living near her school in exchange for tuition fees. I always thought so highly of her for her willingness to do a job that is beneath her. I am a college graduate myself and, when I was a child, my family was very poor. Still, I do not think I could ever have been a maid. Even now in Singapore Snikimary goes to computer school on Sunday mornings and is also attending a course for caregivers for the elderly or sick in the afternoon. She is determined to improve herself.

Generally she does a good job and only on two occasions in three months did she ruin my dresses while ironing them. She offered to pay for them even though each dress would cost more than a whole month of her salary. I was touched and did not accept her offer. (A friend suggested that maybe she was just putting on an act and if I really charged for the dresses she ruined, she would find some excuse to quit.)

However, there is something about her that makes me feel extremely uncomfortable. Recently we went away on home leave. I trusted Snikimary to take care of things while we were away. When I came home I had an uneasy feeling. I could not put my finger on it, but I thought that there was a certain unfamiliar smell around the house. Was it the smell of cigarette smoke? If Snikimary smoked, I did not know it. I have never seen her smoke.

San Mig Later I found a couple of empty San Miguel beer bottles in the house. My husband likes beer and would occasionally buy this brand. But it must have been a while since he had done so. Did Snikimary have a party in my absence?

When I asked her about the bottles she seemed taken aback and hesitated. I thought she turned pale for a second. She finally suggested that they were there all the time and that she had probably overlooked throwing them away. Am I getting absent-minded? I could have sworn I had not seen a single San Miguel bottle in the kitchen before we went on vacation.

Am I being paranoid or did Snikimary bring a guy home? I am thinking of firing her. What do you think?


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