August 1, 2011
Eva had light brown skin that was as smooth and glossy as polished stone. Carol always wondered how it was that skin could be so smooth—and so soft. Eva’s skin smelled of soap and Nivea. Sometimes Carol put Nivea on her skin too—her hands, her arms. The smell enveloped her, became her. “Nivea Skin Cream” it said on the royal blue tin, in square white letters. The cream was thick and white.
Eva wore a uniform. She always wore a uniform. Carol had never seen Eva wearing anything except her uniform. Eva’s uniform was blue—usually. Sometimes it was a pale blue uniform, and sometimes—other days—it was a turquoise blue one. Perhaps, Carol thought, she had a white one too. The uniform was crisp and clean, and freshly ironed—after being washed in the big stone sink where all the clothes were washed. It must have been dried in the sun, on the idly spinning washing line. The uniform smelled of the sun, and of the iron.
Eva wore a uniform because she was Carol’s nanny. She was also Carol’s brothers’ nanny, and was especially in charge of the baby brother—whom she called, affectionately, Tsoko.