laundromat (affinity)

the laundromat is quiet excepting the tumble of the dryers, the cough of the smoking blonde, and the six year old running about, pushing carts. i focus my attentions into my quiet reading. mrs. wheelwright had her wedding and funeral in the hurd chapel, with the space of only one year in between. in both instances the place was packed.

choosing to avoid the smoking female and uncomofortable bus station style chairs i placed myself high up on one of the folding tables near my dryer. i turn the pages quickly absorbing the weathered terrain and people of fictional gravesend, new hampshire, and at some point prior to mr chickering's sobbing the little boy i want to call jason has abandoned his laundry cart and is sitting next to me.

i hold my hand up, "up high," the boy smacks and i lower my hand, "down low." again a smack. now, "in the middle," i move my hand to the median and the boy fearlessly swipes at my hand, however he misses, and i respond, "too slow." he laughs, stands up on the folding table and climbs onto the 35 lbs washers behind me. he jumps down and as his feet hit the floor his mother yells, from across the flourescent room, "johnny, dont jump down from there."

his name is john, but i still want to call him jason, and watch him climb back onto the folding table to sit next to me. "where is your wife?" he asks. perhaps in east nashville rings, like the one i am not wearing, dont signify marriage, and similar to cultures ranging from israel to northern india, beards do, like the one i am wearing.

"she is in dallas." i lie.

"whats she doin' there?" we make near eye contact.

"spending some time with her family."

"do you live alone here?" bringing his hands together, without a steeple.

"yes." another lie.

"you dont have any kids?"

his little black head drops, as i respond, "no," and in the same motion he rolls off the table landing next to a cart. without missing a beat he launches the cart into motion, halfway to the finish line before i am able to read more about owen meany, sitting on eight hymnals to see over uncle alfred's head.


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