The Dark Chocolate Mouse

"M" looked like a plain milk chocolate mouse that fateful day when she sat in my Georgian living room in Brighton . White teeth gleaming behind ruby full lips.  A seemingly sincere smile with graceful doe eyes that Afro-Cubans possess.

Can she clean I asked her landlord?
Like a demon was his reply.
Can she speak English?
No, but she smiles a lot.

She sat uncomfortably gazing soulfully in my direction. Dark brown eyes pleading for work. An immediate future in her uncertain life. A new beginning was all she wanted. All was to be everything………………………..

Wearing cheap beige slacks; off white tennis pumps; a red fleecy jacket with white vertical stripes running on either side of her open zip. Eyes downcast in humble servitude.

38 she replied.
From the countryside. Eastern Cuba
A son of fifteen
Here to learn English.
Her answers in Spanish were monosyllabic and toneless.
Her lies seemed plausible.

M's kinky black wispy hair, in an out of date 60s fringe, outlined her mulatto skin.
She exuded a warm charm.
I smiled and nodded. She could start tomorrow.
A new beginning for her. Money for her son's education back home.
Yes, I wanted to help. My heart went out to her. Little did I know the web she would weave.
My death sentence would come two years later.

Brighton Women's Centre - New Beginnings Creative Writing Course. Oct 2006.