Academic journal article Hecate

Hanging out the Washing

Academic journal article Hecate

Hanging out the Washing

Article excerpt

she was hanging out the washing, the pegs, the sheets hanging out the washing, hanging out, out she was hanging against the washing, hanging out the washing, hiding in the washing, sighing in the smell of that washing, wishing she could lie in the washing, (she noticed the sheets, some of the stains never came out).

the grandfather looks down at the toddler. she spills her drink down her front. "more washing" he frowns. "come to the bathroom" he says. the little shoes patter on the linoleum.

the toddler drops her crust on the floor. she squirms on her seat. "look" says the grandfather "she needs a bath." she starts to cry. "no matter" says the nana quickly wiping the egg off her face.

several years later the child places her fork on the plate. she sits very still. "well" he says "it's time for her bath." the child looks at her grandmother. "i'll take her for her bath ben." the little girl looks hopefully to her grandmother the way plants move toward the sun. he stands up. "put the washing on the line" he says. he leads the child away.

the nana feels the breeze on her cheeks. the child feels the steam on her face.

the child carefully places her knife on her plate without a sound. she sits very still, not breathing, "it's time she had her bath" says her grandfather. "she had a shower this morning when you were up with the horses." says her grandmother. "she has to help me put the washing out now."

there had been a time when she had loved washing. washing the sheets, the copper is hot, they are wrung out and hung up to die. she means "to dry" sometimes it is as though the sheets are dying on the line. nana can never quite get the stains out.

the breeze caresses the washing, the washing never dries in this weather.

nana smacks the washing smacks the child smacks the carpet smacks the dog smacks the dough smacks the rug smacks the curtains smacks the cat smacks pop's face smacks the mattress smacks the child smacks doors smacks the wall smacks her hand smacks

she is hanging the washing out, she is hanging out the washing, from behind the sheets voices talk to her, it doesn't worry her anymore, she knows there is no one really there, she knows she has a problem, she knows there is no one really there, she knows she doesn't see things right, she knows that they know she can hardly bear to hang out the washing, it seems so condemned hanging there on the line, the washing seems so lost, so vulnerable, so fragile, on the line a mist that will evaporate. …

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