This is Andrea, and she’d like to tell you just how much injustice and lack of honesty can cost you – literally and figuratively.
But first of all she needs to explain something to you about her family. A long time ago her great grandfather built an enormous three-storey house, which was supposed to become a “family nest,” just like an old aristocratic estate in the South. Her great grandfather managed to maintain his wealth during the Great Depression, so her grandfather and later on her father inherited both the house and the traditions. And Andrea hopes that when the time comes, she’ll live there with her own family.
The house is really big, and so is the garden surrounding it. So her father hires people to help the family with all of the household tasks that need to be done. The gardener creates masterpieces from ordinary plants. The cook makes dinner and leaves food for the next day in the fridge. And then there’s the housekeeper. Their current housekeeper is called Julia; she came from Mexico a couple of years ago.
Somebody has to pay all these expenses, so her dad spends almost all of his time in his office, coming home late for dinner and sometimes not even coming home at all. She misses seeing him a lot, but she understands why it has to be like this.
Her mom doesn’t have to work, but this doesn’t means that she gets to see her more often either. Even though their town is small, there are many activities that her mom always participates in. And whenever there's some kind of family drama, her mom is always there in the middle of it – soothing, listening, and encouraging. All the housewives in their town share their secrets with her, and no contest like “The Most Beautiful Rose in Town” would dare be held without her.
So Andrea often stays home without anyone apart from Julia, who's completely silent. But she seldom feels lonely. Her huge house is not as empty as you might think, and it's never felt depressing to her! It has a complicated but well-thought out interior, full of beautiful things: vases, jewel caskets, ash trays (though her father doesn't smoke); all kinds of figurines, stones, and other souvenirs collected by three generations of her family. And from very early childhood she’s enjoyed sorting them out; nobody else’s house has so many amazing and sometimes very expensive things. And she’s always felt proud to experience such an unusual way of life in her home.
That's why she noticed immediately when a letter opener and an ivory owl statuette disappeared from the table in the library. Well, the library is very large, so these things could easily have fallen on the floor and gotten lost during cleaning, so she just called the housekeeper and asked her to look for them during her next cleaning session.
For some reason Julia looked worried and nervous, as if she had ordered her to find the souvenirs immediately. But she is quite an emotional person and doesn’t speak English very well, so she decided not to correct her and returned to what she was doing.
But the story here has only just begun. A week later, an antique forged ash tray disappeared from the living room. That seemed strange. She looked under the coffee tables and sofas, kneeling on the floor in her dress, but couldn’t find it. Then she remembered the souvenirs from the library and went to see if they had been found…they hadn’t. Okay, those things were really small and could easily have rolled somewhere under the shelves, but the ash tray was really big and heavy and couldn't just disappear so easily. So where did it go? Had it been…stolen?
Her parents didn’t seem to notice the loss of these things, so she decided not to upset them and instead tried to figure out who had been in their home recently. The more she thought about it, the more she realized that no one new had visited them. Maybe it was somebody from the house staff? The gardener never entered the main house. The cook worked only in the evenings, and seldom left the kitchen. So that just left Julia! She actually lived in the house; she has her own room and, also, she has access to EVERY room!
So she started an investigation, like Sherlock Holmes. Andrea followed Julia in disguise. She examined every room before and after cleaning, trying to catch her in the act when she stole something again.
She was contemplating telling her parents everything but, you know…she didn’t want to look intolerant by blaming Julia without any proof. Who else could steal valuables in a wealthy family's house? Of course, only a migrant! No way! She didn’t want anybody to think she was so narrow-minded.