Faster

[This is a short story I wrote some time ago. I have revised it and shared it with you in the hope that you will enjoy it. I’ll get back to reality on Monday!]

He wore one of his several pairs of basic blue jeans and a blue t-shirt bearing testimony to some mid-level corporate bid for publicity. Summer breezes fllled his lungs and coated his back with thin moisture as he covered the distance between his indistinguishable car and the coin wash. His hair was dark and messy, his eyes blurred and dilated. Laundry obscured his vision almost as much as the heat.

With the new arrival washed in a fresh supply of workload for the dehumidifier, if there was one. Fans twisted noisily over the drooping heads of a few lounging customers, and his blood pumped through his vessels at a similar pace. Through the aorta and out to his head, his digestive tract, his respiratory organs, and back into the vena cava. He could feel it flowing sluggishly the length of its route.

Row on row the washing units churned and hummed and vibrated. A quick scan located a free machine in a scuffed yellow corner of the low-ceilinged room, and he began to weave his way toward it, skirting one or two readers and a napper in the process.

Upon reaching the object of his muted interest he noticed with a slight jolt that she was installed four stations down from him. She was sitting in one of the cheap plastic chairs so graciously granted by the facility, and she was reading some worn out Harlequin. He turned and began to push his clothing into the square receptacle confronting him.

The fans had almost certainly gained speed. While he carried on the charade of focus on the distribution of cleaning powder from a sticky measuring cup, she remained very much his fixation. In his peripheral vision, she took up most of the room.

A tangle of blonde hair covered her angular face and tenderly brushed across the arm she was using to hold up her book. The time on her load was nearly up. He was sweating like a boxer.

With a low grinding and a buzz, someone’s washing came to an end. She looked up tiredly, and in that moment their eyes met. She froze, his knees gave out, and he vomited on the slick floor.

The fans had picked up enough momentum that in no time the coin wash had lifted off from its long-settled resting place. His car went unnoticed in the recently deserted lot, and dust and detergent settled on the windshield.

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