It was close to 2:00 am and I couldn’t sleep. The two year old red head alarm clock sleeping in the crib next to me would start calling out my name in less than four hours. His screeching would then awaken his six year old twin sisters who slept in the adjoining bedroom. I was the live-in summer babysitter sequestered to the upstairs east wing of their grandparents Lily Pond mansion. My job was to care for the three children six days a week. I dressed them in triplicate, fed them, drove them to camp, then to the Maidstone club and tutored them for an hour each day. I had one full day off and two nights to my self. This was not one of those nights. My summer life guard crush was out driving a taxi, his sexy night job. I felt trapped, tingly and I had to get out of there.
I dropped one foot on the floor and crawled out of bed. Then I checked to see if my two year old charge was breathing and deeply sleeping. I pulled my damp bathing suit out of the shower, threw it on and grabbed a towel. The parents, the grandparents and the 85 year old Nanny (my un-official mentor) were hopefully fast asleep in the west wing. I held my breath as I tip toed down the wooden steps to the foyer.
All the lights were off, but I could see a crack of light coming from the kitchen. Slowly I pushed open the swing door. The breakfast table was set with placemats. bowls, napkins and spoons. I headed towards the back door and gently turned the handle. The cook’s bedroom was right off the kitchen, so I left the side door open about an inch for my return.
At last freedom but no flip flops. The driveway was made of gravel so my feet were cursing me till I reached a grassy path towards another long driveway. My employers residence was set in a private Hampton enclave consisting of three homes sharing one long dirt road. The house I was heading towards had a back yard that looked like an English garden. Each day I would drive by in the black Mercedes station wagon with the kids and peer over the gate to get a glimpse of the lush landscaping and the shaded gardens. There was a Spanish stone fountain and an outside limestone fireplace. Below the gardened terrace was a stone path leading towards a crystal pool. It looked like a pond in fairy tale.
A small lamp was on in the house which shed just enough light for me to find my way down the steps. I could hear the gurgling of the filter and the hum of the crickets. I slid out of my bikini, dipped my toes in the deliciously bathtub warm water. Gracefully, I submerged my entire body into the pool, smiling as I touched the bottom of paradise.
Where was my life guarding taxi driver when I needed him?
I floated back up and gazed at the sky. Perfect stillness. No skills required. No questions to answer. Till the barking began. The owner had let their dog out of the house to do his business, but daring doggie sensed a skinny dipping intruder on the premises. The back yard spot lights beamed across the pool and the trees. I held my breath and dropped down into the water, clinging to the side of the wall like a starfish. Before passing out I resurfaced and heard the owner call out to his dog. His voice was getting closer. Eyes wide open in panic mode, I slipped about 6 leagues under and prayed to the Gods of nudity not to out to me to the neighbor of my summer employers. My Olympian breath holding techniques had surpassed my own expectations, but invisibility was not an option. Someone told me once that If you don’t see them, they won’t see you. So as I became one with the side of the pool, I thought of what to say if I was caught. I could just burst out crying and say that I was homesick and needed to get my mind off of my family. I could say that I was recently baptized by the Mormon Church and it is required of me that I plunge myself in deep water every night after midnight or that I have chronic night terrors and the only thing that subdues me is floating in water. I could pretend to be a Swedish Nanny and simply thought that this was a communal pool for the residents. Before I could come up with a reason for my naked trespassing, I heard his voice. “Hello, are you alright?” and then a low growl from the furry snitch.
“Hi”, I stammered, pressing my breasts into the wall, awkwardly resting my arms and chin on the deck as I stared at a face that I couldn’t have dreamed up in my most creative fantasies. “Are you lost?” he said as he petted his vicious dog. I wanted to drown. “No, well, yes, sort of." As I tried to think of what to say with out sounding like a criminal, he walked over to the lounge chair, grabbed my towel and placed it down in front of me. “I work for the Conway family and I, pausing and willing my body through the wall, really needed to get out of that house.” He started laughing. “So you’re Conway’s new Au-Pere?” “Yes, exhaling, and I’m so fired.” He was laughing again. “You’re not going to be fired” he said with a smirk. “Just ask me next time if you want to have a midnight swim.” With that, he just turned away and he and his watch dog walked up to the house. I waited till I couldn’t see him and I climbed out of the pool, pulled my suit on and wrapped the towel around my body. My heart was pounding out of control as I ran up the stone stairs and when I reached the top step, I saw him looking out the window. He was waving to me.