| LifeTakes |

Lifetakes: Faith in the Laundry Room

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This could be it. I’m crouched behind the laundry room door in Aunt Esty’s house, my back against the whirring washing machine, waiting for the telltale knock at the front door. The tiny room smells of dryer sheets and warmth and wet linen, and the thrum of the dryer lulls me into a temporary calm.

Until I remember why I’m here.

I peek through the crack, ready to check out my new suitor. I position myself at the perfect angle, where I’ll be able to eye him without him seeing me.

And then I hear the knock.

I freeze.

Daddy blocks the doorway as he ushers in him, so I can’t see his face — but he’s tall, that I can tell. His voice is deep and throaty and he laughs nervously when Dad jokes about his managing to find the house amid the labyrinth that is Aunt Esty’s block.

The two men leave the foyer and enter the dining room. I strain to hear what the unfamiliar voice is saying but I can’t make out the words.

Is he shy? Is Daddy putting him at ease? Oh, let him be comfortable in his skin — at least one of us should be.

Will conversation flow between us? Please…

I flick my wrist under the flap of my bell sleeves and glance at my watch. It’s 7:34, right on time. In three hours from now, I’ll have answers. By the time I get back here, I’ll be a lot wiser.

Oh, please let him be nice. And smart. And mature. And normal. Oh, and if I like him, let him say yes… Please, not another let down.

I wring my hands, my manicured nails digging half-moons in my palms. I’m conscious that I’ll only make myself more anxious this way. But I’m about to head out on a date with a man I’ve never seen, and who knows where this will lead?

Will it be the beginning of my happily ever after? It has to start somewhere. Will it go down as last time’s messy parshah did, when after I cried and cried for nights on end at the way he’d callously treated me, a random seminary classmate came out of the woodwork to ask me to “give him another shot, he’s such a nice guy, you just didn’t have a chance to get to know him.”

The moments resurface. Memories of other times I sat perched on the laundry hamper run through my mind: The anxiety clenches my insides, visceral and raw, knocking the wind out of me.

It’s February, and I’m standing in this laundry-cum-waiting room, where hope is a live, pulsing thing and anything can happen. I’m about to step out and greet the now-familiar fellow in the foyer when I realize that this is a significant date — I’ve never gotten this far. The future is a scintillating possibility, and I’ve giddily begun envisioning fluffy white tulle, diamonds, the car ride —

The washing machine rattles, thrumming wildly against me.

I’m here, it’s August, and someone else is beyond the door.

(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 629)

 

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