She awoke to the pitter-patter of rain. The downpour predicted by all weather apps. Music to her ears, the sound lulled her back to sleep.

Take two: She awakes again with the blinding light of the sun. The stones and concrete give warmth. The sun glares at her from every mirror – from glass windows to ceramic tiles and the white polished cobblestones of Lisbon’s streets and alleyways.

Sunday is laundry day. So she bundles a dark-ish load of sports bras, beach towels, lace knickers, cotton dresses, and black leggings.

The only denims she dare wear with her  child-bearing hips are denim shorts. The kind with frayed edges that ride up her cracks ever-so-slightly in the summer, when she searches for a quiet spot to play with herself.

When she strolls on the beach, frolics in the woods, and climbs the hills and stairways that snake through Lisbon’s tunnels and in between buildings.

She hears the bleep of the washing machine some 60 minutes later. It is time. The fragrance of lavender fabric softener perfumes the atmosphere, carried by the coastal winds deep, deep, deep into the nostrils of neighbours and

Grandmothers mock her folly, as ominous black clouds lurk on the horizon. The windows on every street lay bare and naked without the garments of freshly washed linens. Still, the dew on the copper line glistens as she dextrously pins her clothes outside her  kitchen window.

On most Sundays, when the sun blazes at 30°c or more, without the interference of rain, there is a competition to see which house has the best smelling laundry.  The fusion of fragrances are distributed through windows for all to savour, and make love with the salt of the sea.

But today is not such a day. Today, work is done not for glory or fame, but for her very survival in a world where the demand for laundry services has spiked significantly.


From interconnecting each garment to preserve the number of clothing pins available to categorising each item next to each other – bottoms with bottoms, tops with tops, each action is fulfilled with the utmost thoughtfulness so as not to be gripped by vertigo.

The clouds hold back tears. Through the methodical productivity. Despite the pain. Prevailing in the acknowledgement of heartache. In the refusal to be consumed by torture inflicted by one man. Knowing there are so many more enriching experiences life has to offer.

As each action is driven by deep intention, she creates magic.

The rain does not pour.

Others, seeing that she is successful in putting nature to the test and admiring her knowledge regarding the mind of the weather, begin to cautiously follow her example.

3 thoughts on “Laundry

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