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My Ayi
My Ayi
Forfatter: NVWVN
Skrevet: 2017-09-15 16:20:58
Version: 1.0
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Dette er den første færdige novelle, jeg har skrevet. Den er skrevet som en del af et studieforløb om noveller hos London School og Journalism. Jeg er ked af, at kursivfunktionen ikke er mulig her på, da indre direkte tanker / samtaler er skrevet i kursiv for at synliggøre forskellen mellem indre fortæller og indre direkte tanker. Hvis det giver mening. Anyhow, happy reading! Efterlad endelig feedback i kommentarfeltet - alt kan bruges!

She’s here. I feel the adrenalin and sweat increase and I strain to keep my breath controlled. I’m asleep, I’ll stick to the plan I made the day before yesterday ago – the last time she did this. That niff; strong alcohol, cigarettes and cheap perfume. She closes the door, sits down at the foot end of my bed. Please don’t touch me, please don’t touch me. “Nanna?” I still haven’t moved a centimetre. “Nanna?” this time a little louder. I have even prayed to a God that I don’t believe in to make this stop. Many times even.

I startle when she pulls the blanket off my legs. I quickly pull my legs up under me, away from her revolting hands but she catches my right ankle. She pulls my foot towards her and straightens my leg. I try again to pull my leg up under me and escape her vulture like handgrip but she’s an unbelievably strong woman. I use the other leg to kick her hand but this woman feels no pain. I can’t hold in my fear, frustration and anger much longer before it’s going to explode out into the world where others can see it - what a terrifying thought.

I know the girls are just upstairs and the last thing I want is for them to feel unsafe but I no longer have the strength to hold in my crying. So I cry. I sob in fear and impotence.

“请不触摸我!” I shout out repeatedly. Please don’t touch me – but she does. She’s so strong, drunk and insisting. Intentionally, I do not look at her. Just the thought of her face makes me terrified. Those narrow manipulating eyes, her bangs as thick black curtains and her mouth. Her mouth. I remember the first time she kissed me. I brushed my teeth for 15 minutes adding toothpaste every two minutes. That was the same evening she kissed my neck, grabbed my right breast, lit a cigarette on the cooker, stole a kid’s bike and passed out on the street.

Unexpected, one of my kicks hits her knee. She exclaims a sound of pain and almost falls out of my bed, but only almost. I lift my head to see what is happening. She finds her balance again before she looks up at me with the face of a maniac murderer eager to kill. I am 20 years old but it feels like I’m 2. Others are in full control of what happens to me, I’m vulnerable, weak and without language to express myself. I creep into the corner of my bed that is furthest away from her and cry hysterically. I have forgotten everything about staying quiet not to wake up the girls upstairs.

Like it isn’t enough she stands up which makes me feel even smaller. At this point she’s too dangerous to lose out of sight for just a second but I still take half a second to look out of the window. Out on the Chinese city packed with Chinese people who are too far away to hear my call for help and even if got a chance to speak to them, Chinese people always take another Chinese person’s side. Fucking China. All I have here are superficial friendships and enemies. But just as I have given up, my ayi seems to be losing her balance again, her eyes struggle to stay open. She gets a lose grip on my bed blanket before she tumbles flat on the floor. At first, I don’t know what has just happened but after a moment I realise that she has passed out – again. From one second to the other my head is clear and from the second second to the third I’ve come up with a plan. I get up, grab her by her ankles and drag her out of my room, leave her on the living room floor and quietly run upstairs to check on the girls. They’re asleep, thank god! I spend that night on the floor just outside the girls’ room.

Next morning after I’ve sent the girls to school I go HomeStay China’s office in the city. This is part of the plan I made the night before while my ayi was unconscious on my bedroom floor. I enter the office. “Can I have a word with you in private?” I ask with a feigned smile. She leads me to one of the classrooms where we sit down in the lower chairs in the corner. I need to screw up all my courage before I lift my chin up, face her and start talking.
“Last night, something happened that makes me miserable. And it far from the first time” I begin.  “It happened the first time one or two weeks into my stay…” and so I talk her through my experiences with tears running from my cheeks, down my neck and to my chest where the water is absorbed in my t-shirt.  “She has threatened me not tell anyone and I didn’t dare defy her but I just can’t take it any longer” If she finds out I’ve told you, she’ll kill me.  “No matter how much I’ve grown to care for Sarah and Lucy, I wish to leave the family. I cannot stay for half a year according to my contract.”  In my own opinion, I’ve made it rather clear that this is the finish line of my speech but for what seems to be a agonisingly long time she just looks me with empty eyes. Finally, she opens her mouth and what she says makes me realise that I preferred the tortures* silence : “I understand why it is hard for you, Nanna. But you must stick to the contract.” I obviously look surprised and uncomprehending to which her reaction is to cease our eye contact before she says in a slighty upset tone: “You have no proof! You must stay and do your job. The Gui family is an important customer to us. Can you understand that?”

Before I have realised that I’ve left, I’m in the lift on my way to ground level. I’m so shocked my crying has stopped. I feel so very lonely and far from home when I remember Patrick. I met Patrick a couple of days ago with the girls at the local playground. He is American and seems nice. Without further consideration, I find him on WeChat and press ‘Call’. The loneliness is by far the worst about this whole situation.  
“Hi, it’s Nanna. We met just the other day –“
“Yeah, I remember. What’s up? You sound a little… ”
“I’m fine. Or, I‘ve been better. I know it seems a bit odd but I just moved here and don’t have any friends, I was wondering if we could meet up for a chat?”
A little pause before he replies: “Yes of course. We foreigners must support each other through this Chinese chaos.” He laughs a little but he is not kidding.  

We sit down on two swings and go through the usual small talk from which I learn that he’s from Texas and educated in the American army. “So tell me, what is troubling you?” I am thankful he asks. I talk him through the same experiences as I did just an hour earlier with Xia Mei, this time with less tears and snot.
Before we part ways, he gives me a warming hug. The first I’ve gotten since the hug my mom gave me at the airport just before she sent her daughter alone on an airplane to China. I had honestly forgotten how good it feels. With these caring arms around me, I take a deep breath, exhale as he lets go of me again and as I open my eyes I feel recharged with energy and hope. I thank him for the twentieth time before we turn our backs to each other. “If anything happens, call me. If I’m home I can be at your house in 5-6 minutes.” I take comfort his words and go pick up the girls from school.

The rest of the day passes by without notable problems, especially because my ayi has been away all day but after I’ve put the girls to bed she surprises me at the bottom of the stairs. Even from another floor I can smell the rice wine in her breath. That sly monster has blocked the way to my room. I spend three seconds on deciding to use force to get pass her. We end up in something I guess is a so-called bitch fight. I wrench myself out of her grip, run to my room and hastily place a chair under the doorknob. My heart in pumping and I feel the sweat in my hands when I grab my phone to call Patrick. Beep… beep… “I will get you eventually!” she shouts angrily in Chinese on the other side of the door. Come on, Patrick. Please pick up!  Beep… “Let me in, it won’t hurt” she tries in a kinder voice. Beep. “Nanna?” Patrick asks worried. With my breathing out of control and less than 10 percent of my focus, I explain my situation to him. “Are you hurt anywhere?” he asks with a military voice. “No, possibly a few bruises, but no.” To my big and disappointing surprise, he replies: “Good. Try to calm down. I gotta go, text me to let me know how it turns out.” Beep. What?

The energy and courage he provided for me just hours earlier has completely disappeared without a trace. I feel as a 2 year old again crumbled down in the corner. I sit like that for what feels like hours. She speaks in blurry, drunken Chinese that I don’t understand, slower and lazier for every sentence until she no longer makes a sounds. “Ayi?” I call. “Ayi?” second time a little louder. No response. I get up my nerves to open the door carefully. She’s asleep. She looks like a sleeping stray dog on the street. I sneak pass her, up the stairs to check on the girls whom to my big surprise and relief are still safe asleep. I spent another night on the floor just outside their room. I probably look like a sleeping guardian dog on the floor.  

A face I haven’t seen before pops up right in front of me: “Hi! My name is Evan. I’m your new contact person. Pleased to meet you!” The first minute I’m just confused about his presence in our classroom, then I begin to doubt the existence of God. Are you real? Did you hear my prayers? I still stand in the door opening when he addresses me again. Did I even reply to the first he said?  “Would you mind coming with me?” He gives me no choice, as he place his arm on my shoulder and guides me to the same classroom where I had my unsuccessful conversation with Xia Mei. We sit down on the sofa in the corner. He turns against me. “Your classmates have expressed some concern for you. Joseph, even said you seem depressed. I got the impression, that though many of them have tried, you won’t talk to anyone about it.”  I feel the water in my eyes increasing. Stay strong, stay strong. Another breakdown. Damn. While I down myself in tears and snot, I tell him all about it; beg him for help. I might be the most pathetic creature on earth right now. He maintains a professional approach: “Xia Mei briefed me about this case and told me that HomeStay will keep your passport in their custody to insure that you do not cause them any inconvenience. This is ridiculous and absolutely unfair but we will find a solution, okay?” I trusted Patrick and look how that turned out. We shake hands in true westerner manner and I go back to attend class.

That evening, for some reason, I am extra ordinarily disheartened. I lay on my bed crying silently into pillow while I consider filling the bathtub with boiling water and washing up liquid before I go in myself. I’ve tried to wash off her dreadful touches unsuccessfully but I feel almost certain this method will work.
I am forced to choose between two innocent girls who are only 6 and 8 years old, and myself. Many different arguments come to my mind: you’re strong enough to go through this, do it for the girls, they have lived, practically alone, with their ayi for their entire lives so they can manage, if something happens to them you’ll have to live with that for the rest of your life. Even if you cope with it for half a year it will only lead to that another girl will have to go through the same after you... that argument dazzles all the other – at least in that moment.
As only a shadow of myself, I sneak through the living room to my ayi’s room to check that she’s asleep, she is and I hate her, then back to my room where I seize my phone:
“Dear host mom
I will end the contract and leave your home. This has nothing to do with you, the girls or your husband. I will meet you in the basement garage tomorrow when you get home from your business trip and explain it all. About 10 am, correct?
I beg you, please don’t let our ayi know anything about this. It’s important.
I’m so very sorry.
No reply.
“Why are you lying?” my host mom asks in aggressive Chinese. “I swear, it’s the truth! I love your daughters, I don’t wish to leave them at all but I cannot live with a woman who assault me several times a week!” I yell back in English. “She family. She would not. You are a liar” she responds in poor English, then in cold hearted Chinese: “Leave.” I look her in the eyes. “Leave!” she shouts - and so I do. I feel empty.

“Evan Calling” I pick up:
“Hi … How are you?”
I’m tired and my brain is too off its game to make up something. “I just left. My host mom didn’t believe me but she’s home now. She will take care of the girls now, I just feel so bad that I didn’t say proper goodbye to Sarah and Lucy. I don’t want another girl to stay at their house with their ayi. Can you help me prevent that?”  
“Send me your location and stay there. I’ll come pick you up.” Beep.
I do as he says and 12 minutes later he’s here. As we walk I talk and talk, he listens, I cry and talk and he listens. I thought we were just walking without direction but suddenly he interrupts me: “This is where I live. You need to rest. I would like you to do that here while I figure out a practical plan regarding HomeStay. I will sleep on the sofa and then we’ll go to HomeStay’s office tomorrow morning.”

God heard me, and he has sent me an angel.

I sleep away the next three days having nightmares about my ayi and the girls being exposed to terribly painful things. For the first time in a long time, I feel safe and this is when I fully decide that it was the right decision to make.
I know just about nothing about my future. I have nothing but my rucksack. I have no place to live, no job and worst; no passport. What I do have is guilt, and that I have lots of. I left my girls to the unknown. If just someone could ensure me they’ll be alright.
“Nanna? I’m sorry to interrupt your thoughts, I just want to tell you that I went to the office while you were asleep and talked to your host parents. They found booze, cigarettes and stolen goods in your ayi’s room and fired her. That’s good, isn’t it? … and about your passport, I’ll try in diplomatic ways to get it back, if they refuse, I’ll steal it. I know where it is.”
He smiles at me: “I’ll let you rest.” He walks out of the room.

God sent me an angel. I’ll be alright.

haleløs2017-09-18 19:00:17

kursiv skrift kan da sagtens lade sig gøre! Læs under 'HJÆLP/INFO' i topmenuen herom ;)
NVWVN2017-09-19 12:19:37
Det har jeg efterfølgende fundet ud af ja, og nu skal jeg lige have taget mig sammen til at gøre noget ved det. Men tak for tippet :-)

haleløs2017-09-18 19:10:26

"I still haven’t moved a centimeter." mon ikke engelsk medfører inch / foot / yard / mile

redigering udbedes her: "that I don’t believe in to make this stop. " Hvorfor søren foretrækker du engelsk, når alle udtryk allerede findes på dansk?

" I sob in fear and impotence." impotencY.

Jeg må tilstå beskrivelsen er alt for snørklet; nærmest som at følge en enkelt streg i en tegning og ignorere helhedsindtrykket.

Jeg foreslår dig at omskrive og genposte hele beskrivelsen her ;)

venligst ...
NVWVN2017-09-19 12:41:47
Tak for den konstruktiv feedback!

Hovedgrunden til at jeg skriver på engelsk er, at de skoler jeg har gået på, har været enten internationale med elever og lærere fra forskellige nationer, eller London School of Journalism, hvor jeg går nu og alt foregår på engelsk.

Jeg kæmper lidt med forskellen på britisk engelsk og amerikansk, og bruger som hjælp. :"For example, these non-U.S. publications use metre for the unit of length as well as for the term in poetry and music." Derfor har jeg valgt centimetre istedet for inch, som efter min opfattelse ville være amerikansk.

Din rettelse fra 'impotence' til 'impotency' har jeg set nærmere på, og jeg må konkludere, at jeg står ved min brug af 'impotence' og tror faktisk slet ikke, at ordet 'impotency' er et korrekt engelsk ord. Kan i hvert fald ikke slå det op nogen steder, uden at ordbogen retter det til impotence.
Da 'fear' er brugt som substantiv, synes jeg det giver god menig, at 'impotence' også er det. Hvis du fortsat er uenig, må du endelig sige til og så må vi komme til bunds i denne sag ;-)


haleløs2017-09-19 14:24:50

det er en temmelig laaaang tekst; pust mere luft / afsnit ind i den og link den evt op i to tekststykker. Læs under 'HJÆLP/INFO' hvordan dette gøres.

Og jo; udtrykket impotency findes skam;
se; ... men skidt-pyt ;)

Og ja; der er tilsyneladende kun tre stater tilbage, som kun anvender metersystemet alternativt!

Agter altså ikke at ligefrem duellere med dig om indholdet af din tekst. DU er jo forfatteren, og bestemmer suverænt, hvad der skal stå ;)

Lad mig dog lige påpege - jeg har altså kun lige læst de første par linier - at det ikke er videre troværdigt at en skræmt jeg-fortæller kan beskrive sin situation objektivt ... og i tilbageblik snarere ville forsøge at glatte situationen ud ... til egen fordel ;)

venligst ...

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