Day 11

Our gutted laundry room has an exterior door, so we’ve been taking our laundry out our front door, down the side alley, and into the laundry room from the outside. I’ve been calling it “our own personal laundromat.”

Other than the obvious hassle and the awkwardness of parading our dirty laundry outside, the only other inconvenience is that there’s no lighting in the room anymore. This is no big deal as long as we’re doing laundry during the day. But more often I don’t get to it until after dark, and then the whole thing feels like a horror film.

I grab my basket and a flashlight and head out the front door. It’s raining, of course, so I keep my head down and try to hurry. The alleyway gate screeches as I walk between walls of brick. I open the laundry room and, when I enter, my shoes make prints in the dust on the floor. All is still and silent. Crossing the room I put the flashlight down on the washing machine and set the laundry basket on the floor. I load the washing machine with clothes and soap and turn it on, its touch screen bathing the whole room in an eerie green glow. Then I grab the flashlight and I turn to leave but stop short; the plastic wall to my right ripples but there’s no wind. I shine my flashlight at it but no one’s there. When a floorboard creaks with no one to step on it, I bolt for the door, leaving the laundry basket where it lies. As I close the door behind me I almost feel invisible hands close their grip on the space I had just occupied, and I run through the rain to my front door, promising myself that my husband will be kind enough to put the laundry in the drier.

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