The day your neighbor asked you to look after her young baby while she went to town!
If one had passed in front of Mrs. Lim’s house that day, he would have surely peeked in to see what was causing the unusual uproar. It was when my neighbor, Mrs. Lim, departed for some urgent meeting in the town, leaving me to babysit her 4-year-old son, Steven. I was totally inexperienced in this case, but I could not refuse to the very first request that she had made.
Even though some eerie instinct was constantly warning me not to go but being a person of my words, I totally ignored it and headed towards her house early in the morning. Mrs. Lim was glad to have me. ‘You are a good neighbor, Eva!’ she complemented as she shuffled the bunch of keys to find the right one. ‘Here is the front door key, use it as you please!’ I smiled back, and in no time, she was gone. Steven was in his room, so I advanced upstairs. With a greeting, I entered. ‘Hi, Steve! You like video games, don’t you?’ I addressed him. ‘I want milk,’ Steven snapped. Milk? Where was I going to get it from? Maybe he could see the confusion on my face so he added, ‘It’s in the refrigerator.’ ‘Ah, I see! I’ll be right back!’ I hurried to the kitchen downstairs and returned with a mug filled to the brim with warm milk. However, he only grimaced in return. ‘I want in my milk bottle!’ He began protesting loudly with hands and legs flapping wildly.
‘You could have told me earlier, Steve! Now where is your bottle?’
‘In the basin, to be washed!’
‘To be washed?’ the words struck me like a flash of lightening. Nevertheless, left with no choice, I headed back downstairs and returned with milk in the washed bottle. What left me astounded was the absence of Steven was missing, and so was the key!
I rushed downstairs and out through the door. ‘Steven! Steven!’ I bellowed frantically. ‘Here he is,’ a faint voice called. I turned to find an old woman with Steven’s arm clutched tightly. ‘This troublesome kid was running away! Take care of him, young lady!’ She almost scolded me as I took control of Steven wrestling to free his arm and pulled him back to the house. Once in, I rebuked him, ‘Steven McLim! What’s your problem?’ It was too much and he broke into a cry, wailing at the top of his lungs and kicking at the nearby table, which caused all of the glass decorations to topple over and shatter, creating a boisterous sound. He ran over to the showcase and plucked all the plates off the shelves, propelling them towards the walls, reducing them to shards. I shrieked and tried my utmost to control him, but Steven was a wild beast! Just as he was about to start at a fresh set of cutlery, the door opened and in stepped Mrs. Lim. She could not believe her eyes and gawped. ‘Stevens! You menace!’ She slapped him on the face and he ran to his room, all shouting and sulking. ‘Mrs. Lim! I…’ I tried to explain. ‘Oh no dear, I understand. I’m sorry for his behavior today!’ She apologized. I nodded, and without a moment’s pause, rushed out of the door towards my own home, my sanctuary, after a worst babysitting experience.
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