May 10, 2008

The Nanny

He picks up Bobby from soccer practice. The first time I saw him he came right up to me, from across the field. Twenty-five, 6'4" maybe, stringy. English short-hair was part of the initial impression. I thought he had an accent but later I couldn't hear it. "Hi, I'm Olivier," he said. "I'm Bobby's nanny." Congratulations, I thought. Bobby is 14. I wouldn't have thought he needed a nanny.

And it was odd that Olivier would introduce himself that way. If I'd been in his place I would have tried to pass myself off as a friend of the family or at the least as an unidentified walking object that accompanied Bobby. I just wouldn't have used that word, "nanny". But Olivier seemed to think nothing of it. "I'm Bobby's nanny." As though "I'm Bobby's uncle". There was that sort of intimacy. A revelation. Almost in the vein of, "I'm Bobby's therapist."

Bobby, by the way, is always "Bobby". Never Bob. Or Robert. He's seems like a good enough kid. He's friendly although he can be derisive. You can see that for a long time he was a Bobby, not clearly boy or girl, but now he's out of that, he's a Bob. He has a deep voice for 15, he's tall for his age, he's in P, clearly. At tournaments, between games, he reads far more than any of the other players. As you would expect, he goes to one of the exclusive schools. He has that nurtured, self confidence you find in those children.

Meanwhile, Olivier waits for the practice to end. He pushes the soccer balls into a corner of the goal. He talks briefly on his cell phone. If a parent of one of the other players arrives he talks to them. You suspect he's lonely. Sometimes, he wears dark, wrap-around sunglasses. As though to say, "I'm Bobby's nanny and I'm armed and sort of dangerous in a way...."

Yes, so Olivier is part bodyguard. Bobby could be kidnapped after all. It's happened in this city. There was that boy that was 7 or 8, kidnapped from a bus stop, and then eight years later he got free. It could happen, although with Bobby, you get the sense he could see it coming. He would struggle. He's tuned in to what might happen to him. He's been warned that his priviledge makes him a target.

And so Olivier has a grand purpose. Not just the mundane, especially when Bobby's mother offers his services, say to pick up other kids to go to practice. She will write in an email, "Okay, have him stand on the northeast corner of Presidio and Sacramento and look for Olivier in my gold Lexus."

1 comment:

Anjuli said...

By the end of this post- I had created an entire fictional story in my mind- a thriller of sorts- with a 'nanny/bodyguard' and this young 15 year old (who as you said- seems a bit old to be needing a nanny)-- I could see several scenarios unfolding- all very exciting-- edge of your seat type stuff.

Someone needs to inform Olivier the appropriate title is "manny" :)..."I'm Bobby's manny"