THE LAUNDRY ROOM:
I'm not sure how old the thick glass door is, but just for the guess, it might be from the early eighties. I swipe the access card, and the push bar lets me free inside the apartment.
Waiting for the elevator, I heard chattering behind me in Hindi. I peek through a long hallway, and at the end, there is a group of people in decent clothing. I never heard of Jehovah's witness Hindus, but surely that's what comes to mind out of the blurry vision. The sound of their mild manner goodbye to the man in the brown blazer was enough detail, with him a small boy and they both are walking towards where I am standing. He faces the group behind him, and he also waves goodbye. I'm not sure what's in for me if he passes me by with the boy, and it's not my interest in knowing what it is. The door opens just in time he was about to turn towards me. I went inside the elevator assuming he doesn't know anything about me standing ten feet ahead. Through the small glass door window, is his smiling head down to the boy, then the second layer door closes after clicking on for the second ﬂoor.
The smell of gas like grease that I suspect coming from the machine that pulls me up keeps reminding me to use the stairs. Feeling little nausea, the cold slice of pizza I ate adding up to it. Before the second layer door opens and back to the window again, I imagine some old wrinkly woman with white hairs would appear on the other side of the glass just standing with a creepy look in her sinking eyes.
Just imagine you saw her already.
So don't be surprised.
I saw her I thought.
She's not even there anymore...
Just an abstract painting is hanging on the wall across visually translated without even the thought of a four eyed ninja. A little humor made me forget about the cold pizza swirling inside of me covered with thick blubber.
Oh have mercy there it is again, but the ding sound of the elevator made the ferry go away once more.
Are my pants on?
Yes, it is.
So I got out of the elevator, and to the laundry room with lights still on. I am a Security Guard at this apartment, and It's time to lock up all the laundries. The sounds of shirt buttons tumbling inside the dryer tell me the clothes are dry enough. But the clock says ﬁve minutes till ten pm. No person was on site, and I can be an asshole from time to time and just lock it. And go on to the next laundry room. They must follow the rules of the house. Not today though, I will give this person some times to ﬁnish up and not close the door for ﬁve more minutes, and few more after that.
My locking legs will punish me later if I don't.
I remember this ﬂoor of having a rattan book shelves. The books are ancient, but it can spare me ten minutes to hide. It is over there I remember.
Few step ahead pass the elevator, there is one shelf of a selection of dusty books from left to write, and a window on my left, looking the top of the swimming pool and far ahead is the gym with the curtain open. A tease without the resident inside knowing how much I needed that elliptical his using. He's not there now, and the room is dark. Curtain still open but the gym should be close by now.
There is no ventilation on the hallways where I am standing, Indian food aromas from all the units are trapped inside the hallways flooded with the mix of light humid and still wind. My balding head is getting sweaty, and no one can see me here if I lay my hat down to the empty shelf just below the books where I can reach without alarming my calmed aching arm. I read few pages from random books. They seem to follow the same complex rules, but I force myself to focus on the pages to escape the space.
The window caught my attention again with a group of Indian ladies with their kids as they gossip after a walk by the driveway and around the apartment complex, a daily routine they must not skip like a religion. Then they departed from one another, followed by two typical American young couple walking into the same eighties door. They both had a giggle on their faces that made me want to put back my hat.
Nah, just ignore it, and I didn't see them.
Back to the pages.
Out of know where a little girl runs towards me coming from the elevator's hallway.
How did she know I was standing here?
"Hello," I said.
A man with dark green polo with a light belly pot went to her, then saw me standing there exposing my balding head.
Shit, I thought.
"I am sorry, you came to close the laundry?" he said.
His got balding hair too but desperately, and they seem to hang still on to stand. I could imagine him also looking at what I already let go. I keep my head shaven, but tomorrow is my day off to do that, from ﬁve days of work. Where is my hat? But I'm too lazy to bother my arm.
"Well it's not ten o clock yet," I said.
"Thanks," he responded, and he turns back towards the laundry room with his little girl holding her hands, "Just a few minutes, it has been a busy day?" he said.
Another whom I remember seeing earlier also entered the laundry room to unload clothes. I held an entrance door for him, and his bottom ﬁlled wife pushing her baby in a cart coming through the same type of the eighties push door from another building previously. Their baby has a shocked facial expression reminding me of my little niece. That silent screaming eyes of where the heck am I made my head turned elsewhere before breaking a laugh as they pass and to the inside of the building.
Back again to the books, each book from the ﬁve books I picked, only a few pages of two books sticks to my mind as I am writing this. One is about a guy in a Vietnam jungle of him not sweating as much as a soft city person would. The more you stay in the bush, the less and less you sweat it says. And the other one shows the structure of Southeast Asia.
Then I peek over to look at the laundry room's progress, and the little girl is looking up to her dad as he unloads clothes from the dryer and into their basket. His done. I don't want to bother looking at my cell phone. But I bet its way passes ten by now. The cramp on my legs is at ease, and I can walk again to the next laundry room.
"I am done?" he addresses.
"Have a good night," I replied.
I waited just for a few more seconds until I hear them closing their unit's door. Then, I walk to the laundry room. It's clear. I hold my breath not to inhale any of the dryer lint that lays annoyingly on top of this small thick plastic trash can, and it is holding the door open. I slide it away like using a broom with my leg, releasing the door to move and against my shoulder. I turned the switch off, and the door closes, followed by the warm wet heat that fans my face, and the smell of musky detergent. I inserted the key and locked the door. Back again to the elevator and go onto the next laundry room.