I’m sitting and watching the clothes spin and twirl in the sudsy water, sloshing back and forth, back and forth.
I wish I had brought something to write with, I always seem to want to write when I have no tools. I rummage through my bag to find a pen and ask the older woman who works at the laundromat if I could trouble her for a piece of paper. She gladly obliges and beckons me to follow her as she shuffles to her office.
It’s tidy, with rows of metal shelving full of laundry supplies, clothes, and towels. She opens a large metal desk, revealing pens, pads of paper, and other odds and ends.
“I like your coffee pot; it’s perfect for one person.” I tell her, pointing to the one-cup automatic drip pot, one of the few things on the desk.
“My husband got that for me about five years ago,” she recalls. “I didn’t want him to come all the way down here to bring me coffee in the winter because he would have.”
I smile, “He sounds like a good husband.” He reminds me of mine.
Her name’s Birdie, she tells me when I ask. I thank her for the paper and return to my seat to write, feeling hollow and filled to the brim all at once. Nothing to say yet everything to say.
14 minutes left on the washing machine.
The water rushes. I imagine it rushing over me, washing away all of this dirt and grime that’s built up around my heart, weighing me down, clogging the arteries to peace and joy. I see myself lying on my back in the river, my face the last to submerge under the current. Release.
It’s amazing how alone you can feel even when surrounded by people, people who love you. Like that mate-less sock someone unknowingly dropped in the middle of the laundromat floor. People notice it, think to themselves, Is that mine? Realize it’s not. Shrug. Keep going.
I’m weary in ways I can’t express. I feel it in my bones. I could have probably washed these clothes in my tears had I gathered them up in a bucket. But salt water doesn’t clean clothes well, only wounds. And it doesn’t heal beyond the surface abrasions; I need something that goes deeper.
This is stupid. I think, reading over what I’ve written. Stupid bullshit, trying too hard at expressing myself.
I recently read somewhere that if you don’t feel like you have to write then don’t bother. I don’t know if I have to or not but right now it feels like telling a piece of paper is at least some kind of release, to get the thoughts out of my head without burdening those I love. I would burst if I didn’t.
Some friends I can’t talk to about this. Most live far away and I don’t want our few sacred, cherished conversations to be taken up with my depression and darkness. It feels selfish, wrong somehow.
I’m shaky again, in my chest and limbs. I feel like more tears could spill over at any second. Is it the coffee? Doubtful.
I hid in the bathroom again last night, sobs racking my body until he knocked at the door to ask if I was ok.
“Yeah,” I feebly tell him. Truth be told I’m fucking embarrassed and ashamed and I know I put him in an uncomfortable position.
“I want to help you,” he tells me softly, rubbing my back. “But I don’t know what to do. How can I help you?”
I tell him I don’t know because I really don’t. Put a gun to my fucking temple, I want to say. But I don’t. I already texted him that I want to slit my wrists but he knows I’m just seeking attention when I do that so he doesn’t give those words much weight, doesn’t respond to that part of the message. It’s good that he doesn’t, it would only feed the demon.
I want to scream until my lungs burst that I’m not ok. I want to curl up in a ball and wail. But what good would it do? What good does anything do?
Some days are worse than others. At least once a week I collapse into tears for the better part of a day. It used to make me feel better but now it just makes me disgusted with myself. Fucking pathetic.
I wish I was stronger, like my sisters. Why can’t I fucking shake this? Why do I always sink into this pit when things are hard or unwanted? Why can’t I just suck it up and do what I need to do to survive? Normal people don’t imagine suicide when seas are rough. But what’s a normal person anyway?
The click of the washing machine door jolts me back to the present moment. I gather my wet clothes and mindlessly toss them into an empty dryer.
Birdie is doing the same, cheerfully chatting with another patron as she works. My work clothes gently dance in the dryer, waiting for me to don them this afternoon.
I slip the pen and paper into my bag. I’ve reached the end of the page, after all.