Saturday 6 June 2020

Debut Fiction: 'Wash Cycle Monologue' by Gaia Donati

You wash your delicates as if they were cottons. I don’t mean it figuratively: you’ve just completed your load, made of gray t-shirts and brown chino trousers, with a wool-and-linen scarf you bought in Ireland last year. Let me tell you, the scarf won’t survive the wash cycle. Well, truth is I’m not telling you – I’m talking to myself as I watch you condemn that defenceless piece of clothing to a hot bath. I pointed out to you before how careless you are with your laundry, but you don’t listen to me. You, yes, you: my second half, as you like to describe yourself. The one who, yesterday, said it’s stupid to fight over how to clean the French press or how often to mop the kitchen floor. We were having breakfast, and as you brought to your mouth a spoonful of cereals swimming in milk I asked: what’s stupid about these arguments? We’ve lived together for six months and we haven’t yet found a common ground, a shared set of house rules. I don’t remember if I used the words ‘house rules’; that doesn’t matter now. You smiled and said you couldn’t care less if the flat was a mess, the rubbish bins came close to bursting or the bathtub got clogged with hair. All that mattered was to see my face every day as you woke up. I suppose you thought that was romantic. And I, to not disappoint you, decided to let you live with this belief. I walked over to you and kissed you.

Today I ask myself why I lied to you. I should have told you the truth, the whole, unfiltered truth. I care about my appliances, my clothes, my furniture. I am attached to the French press I need to clean twice every time you make coffee. I despise people who mistreat objects; I am even less willing to be forgiving if those happen to be my objects.

No, I don’t think our fights are stupid. That’s what I should have told you yesterday. I’ve been playing the episode back in my mind, trying to figure out how you would have reacted to the truth. You would have said, don’t you find it’s a bit sick to feel so viscerally about material possessions? That doesn’t sound like you at all, now that I think of it, but I bet you would have been surprised. A little shocked, even. I would have replied, I don’t care if it’s sick. Then you would have added, don’t you see that these fights will break us apart? I would have shrugged my shoulders and said, perhaps they will – I’ll keep the French press, though.

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