was her husband's laundry, since he had to work weekends recently. So she was
folding his laundry for him at the local laundromat. Oh, sure, she could have
done it at home, in their washing machine. But she just needed to get out. To
get out of the house for a few hours, and have some thoughts. It was too
routine in their house, too familiar and too dreary. They never painted the
walls, they'd always been white. And they'd had the same furniture for years.
The laundromat was a good change of pace. She reached into the dryer and pulled
out a pair of jeans. As she flattened the pockets, she felt a crisp piece of
paper in one. She pulled out a twenty dollar bill. She pocketed the money.
She never really had any money of her own, since she didn't work. She stayed at
home and worked on her stories, hoping one day someone would read them and say,
"Hey, that's something special, there. That's something I can really get into."
And then she'd be published and rich, and she'd never have to live in that house
again, she could get a nice car of her own instead of the one she'd had since
she'd learned to drive. She hadn't even paid for it, her parents had. It was
reliable enough to get her where she needed to go. And it was cozy. But like
the house; routine, familiar and dreary. She stopped folding for a few minutes
and stared out the window. It was a cold day, cloudy and grey. This made her
comfortable. She loved the crisp feel of the air on days like this. And
getting bundled up in big bulky sweaters and jackets made her feel safe and
comfortable. She would go for long walks when it was cold like this. She liked
walking in her neighborhood in the afternoons, when everyone was at work. And
the sun was covered, and the sky was uniform grey. She'd walk through the town
and look at the bare trees, and snuggle into her jacket and just be.
A passing man bumped into her chair and knocked her out of the steady gaze she
held on the window. She continued to pull out clothes and fold them. She
pulled out a red shirt that she recognized as a present she had given him for
last Christmas. It was worn because he wore it so much. She knew that he loved
her and would never tell her he hated it. He had given her no indication that
he did. He wore it often, it was in the laundry practically every week. But
she often pondered to herself if his constant wear of the shirt was forced, as
if he was trying to prove to himself that he really did love her through the
shirt. She knew that she did the same thing. She had a pair of earrings that
he had given her. They were very nice earrings, and she liked them a lot. But
every morning when she chose the pair to wear for the day, she felt slightly
guilty for not choosing them. She knew that was strange, since they were
earrings for nice occasions. But they were also his gift to her, did not
wearing them mean she loved him less? She knew that was an odd thing to think.
But her thinking it made her think the same of him, and his love of the red
shirt. She shook her head. Well, maybe he really likes the shirt. He probably
does. He's not the type to pretend for her.
She picked up the basket of clothes and walked out of the laundromat. She
opened her car door and slippped it into the front seat. She got into the
driver's seat and began to drive home. She was halfway there when she passed
the park. It was empty. She parked her car and sat for a few moments. Then
she pulled her jacket tightly around her and climbed out.