It started out like any other morning in the Adamson household except Jorja was staying home from school because she’d come down with a cold and had to be sent home the day before. As usual the child liked to stay in the kitchens with the household staff, looking forward to the flower delivery by their gardener Mr Green, he always reserving a small bunch for her. She liked to observe the household setting up for the day, getting in their way full of mischief; they didn’t mind and they never told her off or spank her. This morning was quiet however, it was just her and Chef Abigail in the kitchen. She sat at the breakfast bar eating her cereal whilst the chef read her and her doll pals a story.
‘Good morning, ma’am.’ Abigail the head chef to the Adamsons was surprised to see the lady of the house down so early. 9am was early considering she never stepped out of her suite until at least noon, on the days that she does.
‘Morning Abigail.’ Gyll flashed that dazzling smile of hers. She was still dressed in her dressing gown and silk negligée and on closer inspection Abigail could see her eyes were glazed over from the pills she’d obviously popped before coming down to the kitchens and if the dark circles are anything to go by, she had not slept. ‘My sweet Jiji.’ She leaned over the child’s head and pressed a kiss to it. Jiji was her pet name for her last born child. The one who looked the most like her, her twin even in her young age. Gyll did not inquire why Jorja was home from school, she likely did not know what day it was.
‘Would you like some coffee?’ Abigail asked.
‘Yes please.’ Gyll smiled at Abigail, the woman who was more than a chef to her family.
Since giving birth to Jorja, Gyll had not been herself. She struggled during pregnancy, and it was no secret that she did not want to have another child, but her husband would not hear anything to the contrary. Their marriage grew strained, when he was home there was a coldness about and the one who suffered the most was the youngest child. Jorja. Abigail could tell that her mistress was on pills long before her husband could, she needed them because she was in the fog of depression, and she concealed her secret for the sake of peace but appealed to her to get some help. Even tried to get her some but Gyll was too ashamed to admit she needed help, it was not done in this society, her role was to suffer in silence.
This morning however, it seemed things were taking a turn for the better, Gyll being out of bed was a good sign and Abigail thought it was the perfect time for her to spend with Jorja so she decided to run her own errands, giving mother and daughter time alone.
It was a mistake.
‘Mummy can mimi and me get a hug?’ Jorja asked her mother whilst she was playing with her dolls.
‘No darling mummy is too fragile.’
It happened without warning, a sudden panic attack. Gyll felt fragile, as if one touch and she would break. Why was the room so hot? Did someone start a fire? She looked in the kitchen, no fire. What was that sound? Jorja was singing to her dolls. That song. God! She had such a headache.
‘Jorja please STOP screaming!’
Jorja’s eyes widened at the tone of her mother’s voice, she’d never head her speak that way before. ‘Sorry mummy. I love you mummy.’ She whispered fighting back the tears.
Oh God what is happening to me. Gyll stood and began to pace, her head was splitting in two. She hurried into the kitchen for water, but it did little to cool her down. Oh God help me please somebody help me. She hurried to the front door, thinking she heard the bell but there was no one there. Quick! She grabbed a key to one of the cars and bolted out the door, into the car sped down the driveway and out through the front gates that had been left open.
Little Jiji watched, with quiet horror as her mother ran away, ‘don’t worry mimi’ she said to her doll, ‘she’ll come back. She went to get us sweets.’ Somewhere deep in the recess of her childlike mind she knew it was her fault that her mummy was upset when she asked for a hug. ‘All I wanted was a hug.’ She whispered to the lifeless doll whose arms were stretched out for a hug.
Five hours later, Martin hurried through the open door to see a shaken Jorja who’d been calling out for her mummy to come back. She was home alone. The concierge at the gates had called when they could not get hold of the head butler or the chef, because they noticed the door open and the little girl alone.
Gyll was found the next day, two villages away, when the police had been called by concerned passers by having spotted a woman asleep in her car. She was admitted into a rehab clinic and treated for pill addiction. Little Jiji was still waiting for her mother to come back from the shops with sweets. She never came back.