laundromat Diaries Part 3

laundromat Diaries Part 3

A Story by roarke
"

more time passes and is marked by experiences in another laundromat.

"

Ten saga-long years later, a mere decade passed like water down a gold panning sloose-box.  I had to put my dog Chops down due to his getting brain cancer from lawn treatment chemicals. I moved many times in those years. I slowed to a rest in a little western suburb of Chicago in a two bedroom ranch apartment, sans a laundry facility. This suburb was adjacent to an older more affluent one, but there wasn’t any discernable relationship. My apartment was sixty feet from a raised commuter train track and I was going through an on-again, off-again relationship, which at the time was definitely off. At this juncture in my life,  I had decided on being a musician for my career. Glamourous and carefree as that may sound, I found I  still had to chauffeur my laundry in my old duffle, now accompanied by a plastic basket to a laundromat. 


The traffic-worn laundromat was attached to a small strip mall, sandwiched between a Chinese restaurant and a Korean dry cleaners. I never stopped to ponder if there was any irony in this arrangement. I had long since stopped taking my shirts to be dry cleaned, due to budgetary sanctions and only commissioned the dry cleaners to do my Tuxedo and tux shirts. The dry cleaners was a family run business, sons, daughters, nieces and nephews etc. Mostly, the same comely -past prime marrying age- Korean woman ran the customer counter up front. I think she had an interest in me by how expediently she would retrieve my dry cleaning and blush a modest smile when I’d talk to her- but neither of us knew how to broach the subject of going on a date.


On the other side of the laundromat was the Chinese restaurant. A little ten table establishment fit snug into the corner of the stunted L shape of the strip mall. The owner, a hot and spicy single, Chinese woman just touching forty, was very out going and industrious. She always complained about her cooks and would regularly bring out free samples for me and my occasional dates. I designated Tuesdays as official Chinese food day, whether I dined in or took out. I liked the little restaurant and I think the owner liked me, although I doubted I could ever be industrious enough for her. 


Old habits never die they say and I continued my interest in crossword puzzles when taking my clothes to the laundromat. In addition, I now took along a thick novel to try and read amongst the rotary din of rattling old washers and ancient dryers, trying hard to stay focused. Entering my mid thirties, I was already noticing a fading of my mental acuity. It seemed a decade of singles bars, trists and one night stands accompanied by generous amounts of alcohol had begun to deteriorate my physical and mental capacities. Doing laundry was no longer a test of patience, but had evolved into a welcomed period of respite. 


This particular laundromat visit, I had a huge load, my duffle AND basket were full of dirty garments. I packed them into the hatchback of my car, a poor man’s sports car, and drove around to the front of my apartment complex- an alley drive. The last rows of ranch apartments lay perpendicular to the railroad crossing. This meant that every time a commuter train passed not only would those renters be treated to the sound and fury of the passing train, but also the Prelude and Finale of the crossing gate bell and lights. I always assumed they rented those apartments to the already deaf. I then turned left and headed four blocks south and straight into the strip mall parking lot. 


It was a slow day in the laundromat, only two other people were there, an old woman washing workman’s clothes and a late thirty-something woman with below shoulder length streaked hair. I went to the back of the laundromat and found a couple of available washers. After dumping my clothes into the machines and shoving my quarters into the money breach, I settled down to work a crossword using a ballpoint pen. I occasionally looked up to watch the two vastly different women do their laundry. The older woman seemed to be doing her husbands clothes, rough overalls and coarse blue cotton shirts. She had four machines going as she vigorously, rammed as many overalls into each machine as she could. When the cycles were over, she unceremoniously clumped each washer load into rolling carts and pushed her mans laundry over to the bulk driers where she again gruffly handled the work clothes, as if her husband might still be in them. Her time spent here couldn’t be mistaken for anything else but a chore. 


By contrast the younger woman was only doing her own laundry. She had slim pants and designer jeans and some skimpy knit tops along with some sweat pants and shirts then a separate load of undies and lingerie. She took her time, unhurried, examining each article of clothing before depositing them into the machines. While waiting, she brushed her long streaked hair from her face and looked out the front store windows in boredom. I got tired of scribbling the wrong letters for answers in my crossword and took up my book instead. I tried to read, picking up where I left off, but the urge to watch these two women had me peeking over the top of my book frequently. 


The old woman sat while waiting, her head held wearily in her wrinkled hand, her puffy eyes closed, praying for sleep. The younger woman chose to stand, one leg cocked on toe behind the other, her elbows resting on a high table for folding clothes. When their loads were finished drying, the old woman quickly folded, almost rolled her husbands laundry up into crumpled wads and stacked them in her huge basket, then lugged them out to a rusting Ford Ltd.  The younger woman took her time folding each and every piece of her laundry, especially holding up her bras to the window light as she cupped them together. It seemed she might have been doing that for my benefit.  At any rate, I had to wait for her to finish her drying because half the driers were not in service. 


I loaded my laundry into the last dryer she had just vacated and again sat back down to read my book. But I kept looking up at the young woman, trying to figure out why she was taking so long to fold her laundry. We never made eye contact, but I was almost sure she wanted me to make a move. It was my policy though, prudent or not, never to start up small talk with women in a laundromat. She soon finished and left the laundromat, loading her laundry into the trunk of her ‘86 Camaro. I watched her leave, her car burning oil as it left the parking lot. I was again alone to finish my own laundry. 


As I removed my last dryer full of laundry and separated it into my basket and duffle, I found something unexpected. A silk, maroon colored pantie with black lace trim. Here was something I hadn’t expected nor ever experienced. Did the young woman leave it in the dryer for me to find mixed in with my own clothes? Was it a ‘come-on’ signal? The overhead florescent lighting flickered and blinked. I absently twirled the panties between my two index fingers as I pondered the meaning of my find. These weren’t a generic pair of undies one would casually leave and forget, they were in a word, sexy. I felt a little titillated with the possibilities. I took my time folding some of my laundry, expecting the woman to return and ask about her missing undies. She never returned. Did she leave the trophy behind to tease me or taunt me for not having hit on her with at least one pick-up line? I’d never know. 


As I left the premises and loaded my own laundry back into my hatchback, I gave her panties one last stretch and twirl with my fingers and then hung them on the radio antenna of the car parked next to mine, kind of a capture the flag gesture. For as long as I lived at that address and frequented that laundromat, I never ran into anything like that again. And I never forgot the maroon and black lace panties. 


© 2015 roarke



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Author's Note

roarke
Well, I'm gonna wait for the sequel.... wait a minute... anyway, another laundromat slice of life.

Critiques and comments welcome

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-- hahahaha... i'm amazed by what you did with the 'object'... -- i think she definitely had a sense of humour... -- this incident reminds me of how i once threw away a substance i abused... properly wrapped... for rag pickers to pick... -- it was in proper condition... -- i just wanted to be santa claus and surprise people i'd never meet... -- i'm sure they gave me their blessings when they smoked up the goodies... -- i actually ceased to be an addict after that day...

-- can't wait to read the next part in this series... -- the description of both the ladies and their antics was very interesting... -- and i noticed how you mentioned it has tough for you to initiate a conversation about a date in more than one situation... -- i suppose gifted writers are at loss for words in the real world sometimes... makes them more human... and more real... :)

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

roarke

1 Year Ago

it's interesting Serah, I usually don't write about personal experiences, as I don't know if there's.. read more
.

1 Year Ago

-- well... i think that you're as interesting to read when you write non-fiction, Maestro Bill... --.. read more



Reviews

awesome slice my friend...couldn't get better in NYC...and trust me she was flirting...one thing afterall these years of not being able to tell a flirt from a fart i can smell it a mile away when it is happening to someone else...lolol great write as always !

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

roarke

1 Year Ago

thanks Terry. Hey.... where were you when it was happening??? hahahaahaha, I was waiting for her to .. read more
terry smith

1 Year Ago

yeah i usually don't catch on to those..or sucking on a straw after the drink is gone....or moving a.. read more
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...
I have never found a Laundromat interesting. I only go when I have to wash blankets and other bulky items, and when I went, I never stayed inside. I always put my clothes in and retreated to my car because I hated all the noise and such. You make it sound like I've been missing out hahahaha
Fantastic writing is when you can make a Laundromat interesting, Roarke!

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

roarke

1 Year Ago

see, with reviews and comments like these yer gonna turn my head. lol
It's always a pleasure to read your writing. It's hypnotic, it flows well, and it's real. So very real. I loved that little gesture at the end; very cool. Please write a book.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

roarke

1 Year Ago

Thank you Dilan, hopefully when I get all the parts written and assembled, there'll be some kind of .. read more
[send message][befriend] Subscribe
.
-- hahahaha... i'm amazed by what you did with the 'object'... -- i think she definitely had a sense of humour... -- this incident reminds me of how i once threw away a substance i abused... properly wrapped... for rag pickers to pick... -- it was in proper condition... -- i just wanted to be santa claus and surprise people i'd never meet... -- i'm sure they gave me their blessings when they smoked up the goodies... -- i actually ceased to be an addict after that day...

-- can't wait to read the next part in this series... -- the description of both the ladies and their antics was very interesting... -- and i noticed how you mentioned it has tough for you to initiate a conversation about a date in more than one situation... -- i suppose gifted writers are at loss for words in the real world sometimes... makes them more human... and more real... :)

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

roarke

1 Year Ago

it's interesting Serah, I usually don't write about personal experiences, as I don't know if there's.. read more
.

1 Year Ago

-- well... i think that you're as interesting to read when you write non-fiction, Maestro Bill... --.. read more

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Added on December 7, 2015
Last Updated on December 7, 2015
Tags: laundromats, fiction, short story, passing time, unexpected, sexy, life, roarke, william calkins

Author

roarke
roarke

About
Bio I've been a professional teacher, artist and musician for over thirty years and I currently pursue an off-the-grid homesteading lifestyle. I'm continuing life's journey, accepting and creating n.. more..

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