line drying

In the end, you do some laundry. You sit outside on the battered chair and watch as the washing dries on the line. While you watch, you smoke cigarettes, and drink coffee. You flick ash on the ground. You remember how you used to drink your coffee black and long because that’s how they drank it in the TV shows. Sharp scents from the laundry reach you. As the fabrics dry, that smell becomes flowers and sweet afternoons. A friend phones. Just for a chat, they say. You tell them you’ve been busy today. Busy, busy, busy. Another friend calls soon afterwards. You tell them the same thing. You wonder why they called. You remember your first mobile phone, and play with your toes. The washing moves lazily in the breeze. You think of a word: Waft. It’s a clumsy word. You wonder if a fabric can waft. You’ve been chain smoking, and there’s a nutty taste in your mouth. Your coffee’s gone cold and thin, so you make some more. Then you feel sleepy, despite the coffee. You close your eyes, and your head keeps flopping forwards. You sit up, and wonder what you’ve been thinking about all the time you’ve been out here. It doesn’t matter, though. It starts to get chilly, and the light shifts to a flinty grey. You shudder. You unpeg the washing from the line, take it inside, and close the door. You fold the washing, and make a neat pile on the table. You look outside, at the chair and the empty line in the cooling garden. There’s a cat out there, staring back at you. You wonder what to have for dinner tonight.

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