“I…don’t…be...LIEVE…this…is…HAPPENING!….” Mother’s uncorking one of her torments. Tippy races upstairs the basement stairs, tail tucked between his legs.
I race down, two steps at a time. Soap bubbles, ultramarine, foam like frogspawn across the concrete floor and creep up the wall, dampening the bulletin board plastered with household hints and coupons long out of date. A rinse cycle gone amuck from a blockage of dirt, sweat and grime, just like the clog of “issues” and suspicions gumming up my parents’ marriage. Did I mention Mittens, squashed in the street on my birthday? My gangster brother, back in juvie? I’m thinkin’ a curse….
And who uses laundry bluing? Mother dwells in the past, uses a mangle iron to press sheets, makes hospital corners to tuck them in. Father pouts. “I feel like a lodger.”
Mother pulls the Maytag’s plug and steadies herself against the door to the garage. Without looking my way, she shoves a mop in my hands, points to the suds, then smacks her hand to her forehead, palm facing the mess. “I shall dwell here no more.” You can see why I’m a theatre major.
She hauls herself upstairs, removes an overnight bag, already packed like an expectant mother’s. She places it in the centre of her bed. Father will be home late. Again. Mother will wait till he sees it, then move it back to the closet.
Mikki Aronoff’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Ekphrastic Review, Virga, Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine, London Reader, SurVision, Rogue Agent Journal, Popshot Quarterly, South Shore Review, The Fortnightly Review, Gentian Journal, Feral: A Journal of Poetry and Art, and elsewhere. A two-time Pushcart nominee, she is also involved in animal advocacy.
The Ekphrastic Review
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