The laundromat monitor looks up from her James Patterson and Cheetos, fighting a natural urge to smile. I'm sunshine and salutations because it is, after all, an Annual Day of Ceremony. Beside the industrial washers where I deposit my beddings, a black woman sits, thumbing her Android. “How many loads do you have today?” She pauses for a moment, never looking up, and then proceeds with her thumbing, now in counterpoint to the sound of her other thumb clicking the plastic lid on a McDonald's coffee cup. It sounds empty.
I walk to the neighboring Winn-Dixie, eye the steam tables, salivate, swoon, walk back.
In the dryer, three tennis balls, well beyond their useful days on a court, thump thud thump an uneven bass line, fluffing the down comforter's clumps. One small feather escapes onto the laundromat's red linoleum floor. I watch it move each time someone passes. American Beauty.
I press the dry patchwork art of my mother's hand sewn red and green quilt to my face: warm, fresh, not at all like a Clean Breeze. More like Love.