A stepmom struggles to come to terms with losing her son.
|Tanya struggled with the door, carrying multiple mesh bags filled with regret and procrastination. She never lived without a washer and dryer at home before. She supposed she ought to get used to it. |
Two other patrons occupied the space: an older teenager, probably about 19, and a thin, older woman who gave her a smile as Tanya adjusted to the dimmer lighting. She surveyed the laundromat. Dirtier than she expected, she wondered how anyone left here with something clean.
Tanya examined the woman. “Hello,” she replied politely. The woman smelled; the teen disengaged. Not interested in friendship, Tanya chose the machines farthest away from the odd pair. She loaded her quarters into the coin slots and began loading her clothes into two washers. Mostly baggy t-shirts and yoga pants, Tanya noticed. She needed to get out more, especially to find employment. Derrick’s money wouldn’t last forever, and she resented depending on him still.
Depressing thoughts filled her mind as the water and soap bubbles filled the machine. “Not fair” - Jonah’s favorite words when she’d left three weeks ago, along with “Mine.” Those words seemed to sum up her situation. No, she didn’t give birth to him, Derrick’s ex did that. But where was she? Sadness consumed Tanya as she realized eventually, Jonah wouldn’t know her, either. How long would it take before he stopped asking for her at bedtime?
Tanya leaned over and her heart stopped when she glimpsed a little boy’s lizard pajama top soaking on top of the water. Jonah’s top mixed in with hers somehow when she’d hastily grabbed whatever clothes were on the floor.
The washer started its rotation and the pajamas disappeared. “Not fair,” Tanya thought, fresh hot tears raced down her cheeks. “Mine.”