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Copyright © 2017 by Guy New York
Interior design by Pronoun
Distribution by Pronoun
About The Author
I PREFER SWEATERS TO halters, boots to heels, and corduroys to long dresses. Got it? I listen to more Rachmaninoff than Katy Perry and I read Calvino rather than Danielle Steel. It’s not that complicated. And yet, somehow, they still manage to call me a slut and whore right along with nerd and loser. Now explain that one to me.
I’d like to say that I come from an aristocratic family, but the truth is we’re more Bohemian than anything else. I learned to play the violin at eight, speak French at twelve, and I edited my school newspaper for the last two years and eight months. I make half of my own clothes and my parents believe hammocks are the greatest invention since fire. My dad read me poetry before bed when I was growing up, and my mom’s been wearing her “this is what a feminist looks like” shirt since as long as I can remember.
So what’s the point? I don’t know. Maybe I’m trying to give Mr. Richards some excuses, and maybe I’m trying to defend who I am, but at the end of the day, the story is the story. There are no excuses, there are no should haves or could haves, and that’s just the way it is. It was unexpected, wonderful, transforming, and messy. I suppose that’s the way all things are: never quite what we expect. What else is there to do but keep going?
During my sophomore and junior years of high school, I worked for the Richards as a nanny. They just called me Alice and treated me like part of the family, but the truth is I was their babysitter and there’s no use saying otherwise.
Now speaking of the aristocracy, they were the real deal. They used to joke that their money was so old they spent it all a hundred years ago. Growing up they were poor. Mom and dad were poor. Their grandparents were poor. The chauffeur was poor and so were the gardener, the butler, and all the maids. Get it? It’s funny.
For a poor rich family, they lived a life I could only imagine. They ate organic food, went to the opera, summered in France, and they had a library. Can you believe that? They had a full on library in their house. Sometimes when I was watching Tasha I would sit for hours just reading the titles of their books. Most of them I had never heard of.
I had a crush on Mr. Richards since the day they first interviewed me, and it never got smaller as time went by. He was handsome, smart, and funny, and everything just came easily to him. He was a good father, a patient husband, and he never once treated me like a kid. He also scared the hell out of me sometimes. I never heard him raise his voice, but he didn’t need to. When he asked for something, it was done, and his calm presence and firm voice never wavered.
He talked to me like an adult, expected me to behave like one, and gave me all the responsibility and freedom I needed to live like one. For a while, I spent more time at their house than mine, and even though I was working, I sometimes pretended it was home.
During the summer I swam in their pool, in the winter I sat in front of the fire, and on Friday nights when they were out on a date, I put Tasha to sleep and sat in front of the huge screen TV and watched softcore vampire movies. Hey, I didn’t say I only liked the smart stuff. I mean come on.