Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday
These are actually last week's words: hamper, pulverize, taunt
* * *
The kids are well-trained. Four hampers are lined up like wicker soldiers beside the washing machine and everyone puts their dirty clothes in the appropriate bins. Black, White, Jeans (I can’t believe how many jeans this household has!), and Not.
The Not basket holds everything that does NOT fit into the other three categories, which I sort to create smaller sub-loads.
Without fail, a sock from one of the Not piles is sucked into the black hole of the Galaxy Load, never to be seen again. More than a little frustrated with this scenario, I began hanging lonely singles from a makeshift clothes line above the dryer.
Then something odd happened.
One by one, each orphaned twin returned from the great beyond, pulverized beyond recognition. I didn’t think much of it; figured the machine chewed up the socks then spit them out like manky hairballs, unable to digest the poly-cotton blend. As each mangled footie resurfaced, I simply shrugged and pinned it with its pair. These dancing duets now hang in a macabre conga line: fully-grown, healthy socks, each with its decimated conjoined twin.
There is one sock at the end of the line that has remained alone for what seems like an eternity. It’s singular existence taunts me; a constant reminder of my failure as a mother. It's a running joke in the family and I used to laugh. Used to. Not any more.
That changed today.
Today, as I emptied the Not Load of browns and transferred it to the dryer, a lump in the pocket of Nathan’s khakis made me stop. I squeezed it, tried to guess its identity. About two inches long, it was somewhat hard, and yet, tender. I squeezed my eyes shut.
Gross...a machine-washed Tootsie Roll.
I pulled the pocket inside out, my entire hand wrapped around the roll. I remember thinking it was even more disgusting without the wrapping—slimy. It flopped onto the dryer with a hollow ting that echoed off the laundry room walls. I cocked my head. It didn’t look like a Tootsie Roll.
In hindsight, I shouldn’t have picked it up, shouldn’t have held it between my thumb and forefinger, shouldn’t have squeezed it. I Definitely shouldn’t have lifted it up to my nose to sniff.
I now know why the socks hang so patiently on the line. I don’t think I’ll ever do laundry again. What if the rest of the foot shows up?