Tuesday, April 8

Various Shades of Blue

IF I AM GOING to be alone here, then I shall be productive and I shall do the washing. The three separate piles look up at me, slumped next to my feet. Colours are not quite colours but an altercation between the various shades of blue. There are small moths walking in the pile of clothes; I unsettle them and blow them into the air for them to disappear. The moths look like grains of wheat. I take the colours down to the launderette where, in the shape of the letter-L, two machines and two dryers are stood. Someone has put their chewing gum in one of the dryers so that it is black.
The skin in the middle of my chest is unlike any other skin on my body; it is slightly oily, it has large pores, it is soft, the hairs are in no mood to conform; it is a disaster area for me. Plug the large vein on my hip when my leg is amputated. That is unusual skin. Penis-skin, too, is strange, for it stretches and greedily drinks whatever runs down it. The skin on my right heel can be used to scratch my calves when, in the depth of winter, my eczema flares up. Atop one of the dryers is a rattlesnake skin. I am alone in the launderette and I stare at it. It is a pair of knickers. They have been placed there—or so I suppose—by someone who’s picked them up by accident. I put my clothes in the machine, then the detergent and then the softener (which my mother says won’t disturb my skin, sensitive as it is, and that, every so often, is inclined to remind me, by its scent, of home; so I cherish and hold on to my fabric softener with a maternal ferocity not unlike my mother’s). The wash will take thirty-two minutes, as illustrated by fourteen little lights, but I know, from experience, that those are not real minutes and it is likely to take forty or even forty-five, depending on what mood the machine is. Beneath the lower lip of the dryer is a basket of lint. I put my hand in and scoop it up, being precious with it lest I break it apart. The bin eats the lint. That will go into landfill. All these people living in their clothes, losing something, it ends up in landfill and the lint is always the colour of blue, a shade of blue, and I scoop it out. I consider the lint dearly.
‘So, aren’t you going to steal me?’ asks the knickers on top of the dryer.
They are violet coloured knickers. There is no real back to them, just a lace string that is prone to nestle between the buttocks, hovering a tremble over the anus. The main violet colour is from the silk-like material that clothes the cunt. ‘Cunts,’ says I to the knickers—‘should be clothed in nowt but the hair that grows upon them.’ I remove bits of lint from underneath my bitten nails.
‘Listen to yourself. Do you even know what you’re saying?’
One of the dryers has twelve minutes and fifteen seconds left on it.
‘Steal me. You can wear me around your flat, if you so wish … if that’s your thing. Or you can sniff me or put me in your mouth while you masturbate.’
I put the detergent and the fabric softener in my washing bag. I bought the bag when I was out with my parents, one Saturday in September, when I was not as lonely as I am now, a trifle richer. The bag makes a noise of rustling when I walk down the corridors of the building. I think of a rhythm in my head and rustle the bag in time. ‘You know, I never realised it at first but one grows very familiar to someone when they are in a shade of love. I never thought about it before, but I am becoming very familiar with all of my girlfriend’s clothes and all of her underwear. One morning we were fucking and she was riding me and I was watching her upon me as if she were a drive-in movie, when she reached across, picked up her soaking wet knickers and stuffed them in my mouth. My mouth dried up like a dessert so that, after a while, I had to remove them and lick my lips. Moments later, I shoved her on the bed and came inside of her for a very long time so that it went everywhere and we smiled great castles of smiles as I took tissue after tissue and cleaned it up. Whenever she is dressing or undressing, I remark in my head what underwear she is wearing in the same way one remarks upon the weather when they step outside for the first time of the day, except her underwear is always sunny weather. I suppose that in all my time of being alone, I never thought about that, that that would ever be something I would recognise, or something that would stand out.’
‘Fine, leave me here, then.’
I went back into the corridor. There was a cat down the other end. I raised my hand like a pistol and shot the cat. It sniffed at me and hurried away. The washing bag banged against my legs in a kind of rhythm. The washing bag, too, is a shade of blue.

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