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  • Writer's pictureWojciech Salski

Life's Laundrette

The different pieces of clothing tumbled, twisted, and turned inside the rounded space of the machine, as the boy observed the many colors mixing with each other, this could symbolize the constant cycle of life…

There was no one else in the room. Sitting slouched over the uncomfortable plastic chair, the boy stared at the row of electric eyes shaking their irises without a stop. There were a few bags abandoned by their owners, waiting to be used once the laundry was done; their crumpled corners and withered handles reminding of the impermanence of every little thing in the world, even these recyclable carriers. With boredom knocking on the door of his mind, the boy looked around the space thinking of the absurd lack of aesthetics, which in a way could consider being exactly one of the absence. The walls appeared to be grey, although one couldn’t be certain of what was the true color of these long-forgotten areas behind the rows of machinery. The corners of the room’s floor, where the hoovering was only possible with a conscious effort, exposed the simple truth about such enterprises and offered a sweet-sour taste of the paradox. Although the reason for this laundrette to exist was to keep one’s clothing clean, it was the cleanliness that was lacking in any area of its existence. The boy chuckled gently arriving at such an ironic conclusion. The floor in the middle, where the customers would walk and shuffle their feet when taking care of their business, was the only visibly tended to part of the whole parlor. It’s always about the appearances he reflected.


The sounds of the street shimmered on the edge of the boy’s ears. The tumbling of the clothes, the buzzing of the engines, the whizzing of the low-quality lighting were all standing in the way of the outside concert. Hanging his body off the chair, as a ragdoll left uncaringly by a bored child, he observed his surroundings with the growing frustration about the fact he did not think to bring his book along. Reading is like time-travel he thought, even more so, it allows you to journey through space as well… Aware of the blessing, which each of the people on this planet was able to take advantage of in the times of boredom, the boy went within and reflected on what his uneasy mind was projecting. It is like going to your private cinema, which not only belongs to you but also provides you with radically personalized viewing…


The room was empty, just like the laundrette; the rows of seats of the same perfectly sized shapes appeared to continue up the staircase without the end. The boy looked at the ticket he suddenly felt between his palms and realized that there is neither a row nor a number of the seat he was supposed to take. Shrugging his arms, he sat down on the edge of the row somewhere up the first few layers of steps and looked at the vast screen stretched across the wall. Please may there be no advertisements he whispered squeezing his hands together. The silence of the theatre seemed to have some distinct similarities to the previously, or maybe one should say, presently experienced laundry room. There was a slight buzz hearable, which made the boy question whether the people running the show are professional enough. He stared at the screen waiting for something to happen. He waited. Without the watch, which he often forgot to put on after the night’s sleep, he felt uneasy in this unknown space-time of the projection. He looked at the ticket again hoping to see an indication of the planned beginning of the length of the movie, a title would be enough he considered squinting his eyes. The ticket looked like any other ticket one could find in a cinema, but there was nothing in particular printed on its surface. It was like looking at the mirage on the desert, one can recognize what one is looking at, but it is impossible to properly describe or deduct the details of what is observed. It’s an illusion he thought.


Some time passed. The boy kept glancing at the screen, looking around, even tried standing up to see the bottom of the room, but nothing, and no one was about to give him any instructions. Whoever is the manager here he hissed through clenched teeth, I should have a word with them… Suddenly, the screen lit up flooding the room with the brightness of the imagery, which initially made the boy’s heart jump and his eyes close. The surprising moment only lasted a second and the satisfaction of the finally initiated action made him immerse into whatever was to appear on the surface. The whiteness of the screen started shifting its attributes, accelerating the changing of colors with shapes becoming apparent. There was the sound of the tumbling, twisting, and turning hearable again, with its appropriate imagery coming into the projection. The circular movement of the colorful mirage reminded the boy of something, but he was unable to put his finger on what it was just yet. Staring at the screen like hypnotized he observed the turn of the shapes, the twist of the colors, the movement of the lights. The motion continued for some time before it abruptly ended switching the screen off, only to leave one tiny white dot lit in the middle of its vastness. Whoa, the boy exclaimed surprised. A sound of the tumbling and buzzing gave way to the noise of waves crashing against the wall, as a voice which appeared to intrude this sacred space of the cinema emerged – It’s finished now… could you take it so I could do mine…?


The boy almost fell off the chair, as the sudden emergence out of the deep inner experience brought him back to reality, as he knew it. A woman was standing next to the row of machines staring at him as if she was waiting for something. He looked at her confused. It’s finished she repeated pushing her finger against the laundry machine, which the boy used, could you take it out…? His confusion shifted into surprise, his surprise changed into understanding, his understanding switched into amusement. He started laughing surprising the woman. Is there something funny she asked frowning in confusion. No, he answered standing up and reaching for his bag, just thought I died there that’s all… He chuckled taking out his laundry, as she looked at him speechless. Have a nice day the boy said walking out of the parlor, enjoy each and every one of them…

Also check out my new series of (Un)usual Stories Podcast - (Un)usual Dialogues:

(also available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and more...)

#prose #creativewriting #laundrette #thinkingdeeply #satire #foodforthought #takeabreak #innervoice

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