Near twilight, when the stars begin to peak from the heavens and magic rains down on us mortals, I folded my son’s t-shirt. I placed it in his drawer and a lightness passed through my chest. I could hear my breathing which was both rapid, and yet, measured. As I turned back to the laundry basket, I witnessed the impossible: it was empty.
I had finished all the laundry.
Nay, brothers and sisters! I say I did witness such a thing! I know that it is impossible to believe the possible, but I say again, it thus did happen! I understand your hesitancy to believe this tale and as I write the words, I feel your doubt. For I, too, experienced that most retched of feelings.
I ran from my laundry basket and threw open the dryer with a bang. The door spooked the cat who quickly turned to me and said, “Do you mind?” before walking away. Before my glossed-over eyes, a miracle did thus appear. There was no laundry in the dryer. I opened the washing machine and it was as empty as the souls of the forgotten laundry kings.
Surely, I must be hallucinating.
It was the only thought that made sense because there is no way any of us are ever done with laundry. Laundry is as consistent as death and taxes, both of which only occur because there is laundry to be done. Pile after pile of kid’s clothes turn man mean so to soothe the laundry’s empty hole in our hearts, we kill people and take their money. It is said that this was the reason we were all kicked out of Eden, to begin with.
Laundry is eternal.
I punched myself in the face several times but still, there was no laundry. It must be hidden! I ran from closet to closet looking for that diabolical beast, and yet, I found none. I looked under beds, in gym bags, and on the roof. Gone. The laundry was all gone.
“I can’t believe I did it,” I said to no one in particular.
“But you did!” replied the dog as he finished paying the mortgage. “And when the laundry’s done, truly done, then magic happens. Things are…different.”
For the first time, I looked up from my stupor. The dog was right. I couldn’t put my finger on it right away, but things did appear to be…better?
No, that’s not the right word. Oh, cursed fingers how have you failed me in this story! Things were brighter. Dust smelled like cinnamon and outside the polar ice caps reformed. Time, which always seems to press down with each tick of the clock, stretched forever. And also, the dog and cat were talking.
That was probably the first thing I should have noticed.
With the laundry truly vanquished, I had all the time in the world. I had an eternity. I took a nap.
With the nap done, I believed that I must have been overstressed from trying to hang up my wife’s shirts. Foul contraptions that come with special hanging straps. It is an impossible task, of course, and yet I still try. But when I opened my eyes, the world absolutely glowed.
Little things that had always bothered me seemed to fix themselves. The loose floorboard near the stairs didn’t creak when I staggered over it. There were a dozen doughnuts on the kitchen table that had no bite marks out of them. I found 20 bucks in my wallet. And my walls, my dirty spaghetti-stained walls from countless dinners that didn’t go right, were clean.
I danced and sang in the tongue of angels. Virgil appeared and told me that Hell had frozen over which had put him out of the tour business. I gave him my 20 bucks and wished him the best of luck. Maybe the cat could help him with his resume.
I twirled in the night with joy in my heart for probably the first time in my life. The birth of my kids? That was nothing more than a nice outing compared to my jubilance now. With all the laundry done, worries and troubles were lifted from my brow and all that was left was the hope of a new spring morning where life is rejuvenated. I swear to you all, this is a true as a description as I could write. It was happiness personified.
And then the kids came home, and the world shimmered. My wife walked in the door right after them. Darkness crept into my hope like a black plague rat. An earthquake trembled underneath my feet and the cat gave me the finger.
“I accidentally overdrew your checking account. Sorry about that old chap,” the dog said. In fact, it was the last thing he ever said. My wife took off her pants and changed into fresh pajamas. The kids punched each other for ½ an hour, and then they too got ready for bed. When I went upstairs, I saw what I knew to be true. Somehow in the hour they had been home, the laundry had returned. Piles upon piles were stacked to the ceiling so that it could be called a load-bearing wall.
But for that short time, as hard as it is to believe, know that I did indeed finish all the laundry. Out of breath and with tears streaming down my face, I remember as much as I can to tell others. It’s possible. I’ve seen it.
Laundry is not eternal. And when you are able to finish all of it, something happens. Even now, with doubt back in my heart, I know that it was freeing. I discovered my true self and I hope that one day I will be able to meet him again.
Until then, I talk to the cat and dog and wait for them to respond.