My housekeeper, Roxanne, comes every other week. She’s been doing it for over 18 years, and we are friends. We are good friends. I treasure that, because she helps me so much. A clean house … what does it mean? More than anything, it can mean someone cares. Roxanne really does. I always tell her when she leaves how good the apartment looks, and I always see her look of pleasure and pride.
We worry about each other. She started her job with me when she was pregnant, and had a second pregnancy a year or two later. Photos of her children are on my frig. We talk — I’ve been there when her daughter scalded her leg, when her son got a DUI.
We laugh a lot. She got very worried on the subway once because she’d put a microwave dish cover in the wrong place and maybe I’d need it and wouldn’t find it! I told her if I’d realized it, I would have docked half her pay. But then I mumbled that I had two of them … and we laughed and laughed.
She’s going on a vacation and will miss one of our weeks. So today, she came in for 1 hr after she finished another job in the building. She volunteered it; I didn’t ask. When she’d finished, we went downstairs together so I could finish giving Xmas gifts to the building staff. As we left my apartment she turned and said, softly and a little sadly, “Goodbye, house.” That’s Roxanne.