Gary stares at the mass of wet bedclothes rocking slowly back and forth in the washing machine drum. How on earth is he going to dry them? Gary and Sandra had met six months ago at a Christmas party. All his family, except perhaps gran, had liked Sandra from the off. Especially his sister Carol. Moving in together had seemed a natural next step. They had found the two-up two-down with what his gran called a ‘yard’. It had seemed perfect. But here he is standing alone with a pile of wet washing.
Something had not been quite right for a few months if Gary was honest.
“It’s a big step moving in together, of course she’s anxious,” his mum said.
They’d spent their first night together in the house, christening their new double bed. It hadn’t been the romantic tryst Gary had hoped for, a bit flat. He’d woken up to an empty bed and the beep of a WhatsApp message – from Sandra.
‘I’ve tried 2 tell U – couldn’t find words. This isn’t going 2 work out. U r not my type. There’s some1 else, I’ll move my stuff out at w/e’.
What stuff? Sandra hadn’t moved anything in! No toiletries littered the bathroom, like Carol. Sandra and Carol had hit it off immediately, been ‘as thick as thieves’ as his gran kept saying.
His phone beeps again, this time it’s a WhatsApp message from Carol. He’s tempted to ignore it, but by force of habit clicks on the message.
He does not reply.
Now what? The sun creeps across the backyard where a piece of string is slung up, a few old wooden pegs with rusty and bent springs dangling along its length. Oh, what the heck! He haphazardly pegs up the wet sheets leaving them hanging limply on the line.
When Gary arrives back home after work, through the kitchen window he can see billowing white sheets. They look like the sails of a yacht, ready to transport him away. Away, from the disappointment. On closer inspection he finds the sheets are dry and smell of fresh air. They don’t smell of Sandra, no trace left of her perfume or hair. His gran is always saying a blast of fresh air is the best cure for most ills.
Tomorrow he will buy a proper clothesline and new pegs from the hardware store.