Miss Lucy

27 Nov

I had a French tutor when I was 12. She was a Frenchwoman in her sixties who had settled in our town. Her name was Miss Lucy, and she was a famous oddity.

She lived a block away from my grandmother’s house, and she could be seen walking in the afternoon with her faded red umbrella on her arm, her brown printed dress and tattered old bag. She had clear, china-blue eyes, thin pink lips and thin, dirty yellowish-white hair that she tied in a bun at the back of her head.

I knew a girl who lived across from her house, and I remember being teased because Miss Lucy never took a bath. She had only two dresses, one brown and one purple, which she never washed. She would put one out in the sun and would wear the other one, and both felt stiff to the touch and smelled of toasted sweat. My mother once gave her a burgundy dress and a pair of shoes for a party at the Alliance Française, because she had nothing to wear.

She kept the shutters in her house closed, and her porch was full of broken furniture, an old bicycle and a rusty swing. She had cleared a little pathway in between the junk to reach her front door. She never invited anyone inside, and the neighborhood children always wondered what hid behind the walls.

She had no friends, except for the cats and dogs that kept her company. Sometimes we would see her at night walking her pets, a ghostly white lady wandering in the dark.

My mother remembers when Miss Lucy first came to our town. She was a tall, blonde young woman with long hair and and a sure step. People said she came to Honduras because of a man, but something went wrong along the way, because she was always alone.

She never left and now, so many years later, she is a charity case. The Embassy of France took responsibility for her, paying for a caretaker who neglected and abused her.

My mother went to the hospital for a test a couple of months ago and while there she heard the nurses talking about the little French lady that had been brought in the day before. She went to see her, but the blue eyes gave no sign of recognition. Miss Lucy was confused and frantic and all she could say was ‘it hurts’.

The caretakers had mistreated her. She was malnourished, her hair was dirty and full of lice, and her nails curled long under her fingers. Someone took her away from them, dropped her at the hospital and contacted the French Embassy.

I wonder what kind of life she led in her own country, and whether there’s someone there who loved her and wonders what happened to her. I wonder too, why she stayed in a place where she had nobody, and where loneliness and poverty seemed her only destiny.

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2 Responses to “Miss Lucy”

  1. marcos fuentes July 7, 2009 at 10:00 pm #

    hii cousin.. I`m very glad to you remenber to miss lucy, I remenber too and my mind come to this years when to miss lucy walks to his dogs and cats….
    very interesting report…
    greeting

  2. lvmg (Lizzy) July 8, 2009 at 12:30 pm #

    Thanks for visiting! I’m glad you’re reading…

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