Two days ago, I had the emotional energy to do a single load of laundry. It was the first time, since I’d begun peeling the layers that were us off my skin. I watched it pile up day after day, like the broken agreements between us, stinky in the corner.
I ran out of underwear and bought some more so I wouldn’t have to bend over and sort the colors from the whites. I’ve done that with you, finding new ways to give us chances so I wouldn’t have to sort through the soiled.
By time I ran out of my favorite shirts, it was rather embarrassing how full the house was with the dirty things, my favorites all tangled up with the rags from cleaning up messes.
I started to worry about stains, but still I did nothing. I just started wearing things I didn’t like so much. If it covered my chest, my heart, so no one could see, what was the difference?
It’s cold outside anyway, and I just wear the same coat over it all, with a hat. I’ve been covering up all my heart aches with the same smile for awhile, too.
I’ve put a damper on the volume of my pain, stopping tears and replacing them with my fists. My damp sweaty workout clothes are balled up like those fists, and still damp, four days after I last ran, when I overheated myself so much I collapsed. I worry they will mold, but still I do nothing.
I can’t do the laundry until I get some detergent with which to clean this all up, but that’s even more daunting a task; a trip into town and spending money.
Three days ago, I got some on the way home from somewhere else, knowing I couldn’t put it off much longer. I told you I couldn’t do this anymore either.
But even though I’d begun thinking about opening the round mouth and throwing some in, I didn’t do anything about it. I’m still living here and looking at you, too, even though, like the laundry, I know I have everything I need to tackle the chore except the energy to drag myself through it.
I have gathered hangers, and then I managed to start separating the loads, noticing all the dirt now covering the floor from moving it, and seeing how some pieces stay tangled. I leave them for later figuring they’ll sort themselves out. Or, if not, I’ll deal with it then.
I tell you I want to separate our pieces, too, get it as close to the being on our own as we can, before making the decision about what or whether to start. I do this with the laundry piles; color, white, or towels. I already know what I would choose. Definitely the color pile. White isn’t worthwhile to me.
I notice where my new purple shirt is. I want to make sure that’s part of the first load, even though wearing it might be why I collapsed.
For my new life, I choose color, too. All of it, even if it doesn’t fit right away. I can get used to it, take it off and pick something different if it doesn’t work.
I think about how my new life fits strangely right now, but I’m trying it on and walking in it anyway, even while the old one hasn’t been washed, let alone folded up or put away. The stench and the unfinished piled up pigsty gets the best of me and two days ago I toss it in. It didn’t turn out to be so hard, and the new handy detergent spigot lined up nicely with the dispenser cup. I like the way the red rubber valve feels under my thumb when I press it in and pop it back out. I was downright proud, can I admit, when I finally pressed the go button on the washer, even though it wouldn’t have normally been such a big deal.
One day ago, because I didn’t have the energy two days ago to finish the job, I put that wet mess in the dryer with a sheet of cling free or bounce, so it wouldn’t stick to me later. I told you it was too bad you weren’t going to get out of this unscathed. I said this with gritted teeth, anger seering through my bones. But then, like a miracle I haven’t experienced in a long time, if ever, it just let go of me. It stopped clinging and I bounced right back. I felt it bolster my resolve to get this chore done. This dirty laundry between us isn’t going to clean itself.
The buzzer went off and even though the best time to fold it is while it’s warm, I just allowed the lack of room on the counter to dissuade me.
I threw it in a basket, just pulling out a few things to keep them from wrinkling. Then I realized I needed to use that basket, so with a sigh, I packed down the mismatched socks and unfolded work clothes already on that counter, things that weren’t going to be missed if they sat unattended at the bottom, and I heaved the basket up and gave it a dump on the top.
Yesterday I talked to you about one of the important topics we need to iron out. I had a pretty clear plan, and more than actually deciding or doing anything, I just wanted to get clear on the colors of the matter at hand. When we were done talking, I’d had enough for one day, so I left.
I filled my evening with the surface task of shopping for shoes so I could run, while engaging in a deep conversation about why the road I’m getting off of isn’t working for me. I dreamed and feared the new trail ahead, too. After hours, I felt solid enough in my standing, even though I never did find those shoes, to make my way back home.
Today, my ambitious plan is to swirl some more loads from the floor, through the washer and dryer. I’ll enjoy the pump and the bounce. I’m feeling able to commit to this much.
In my life, I’m hoping to begin looking at what to do with the clarity I gained yesterday inside and outside this house, once a home. In both situations, I would be proud, or at least satisfied, if I found a path to begin folding it all up, and at least putting some of it where it belongs, even if what gets dealt with doesn’t turn out to be my favorite pieces, and even if they don’t stay neatly on their hangers or in their drawers.
I can always come back tomorrow and make it right. For today, this will be enough. And I get, I see, there’s more piling up. I’ll just have to rely on the momentum of what’s coming to get me through the new dirty piles. I am trying to disentangle me from you as cleanly as possible. I can’t promise I’ll always succeed, and I know there’s mountains to get through. For now, though, I will concentrate on being strong enough to do a load or two.
~ cj 2011.02.05