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  • Writer's pictureNicole Jorge

Wash

TW: Violence, gendered slur



Grease floated on the water's surface like slimy orange clouds. Lena wrinkled her nose, loathe to plunge her hands into that oil slick again.

"I keep telling you, we need a dishwasher. I'm getting sick of this."

"Hmm? What, the sink again?"

"Yeah, the sink. Look what it's doing to my hands."

Paul glanced up from his newspaper and back over his shoulder at his wife. She held a single pale, slender hand up in the sunlight streaming through the window. The skin was pruny and puffy.

"Maybe next year. Have you seen the Harris's kitchen? All that marble...we could do something like that next year when I get the raise."

"The raise? You mean the one you've been waiting on for three years?"

"Only a matter of time. I keep telling you that bitch Heather's been holding me back. But she'll be transferring out in a few weeks, and the office can finally have a little peace."

"Ah. Heather. Right." There was a pause. "Will you pick up some eggs on the way home from the office tomorrow?

"Eggs? No, I don't think I'll have the time. I've got a meeting with Reyes from accounting. We have to go over the new budget."

"Never mind, then. I'll take care of it."

"Good, good. Hey...you still got that blue dress?"

"Huh."

"That blue dress. You know, the one you wore on the cruise, after I started at the office. You looked great in it. I was thinking you could wear it to the dinner next week."

"I don't have a blue dress, Paul."

Paul frowned as he flipped to the business pages. "You don't? Don't tell me you outgrew it. You haven't gained a pound since I've known you."

"You think so?" Lena turned to Paul briefly. "Hey. Did you know the Nutcracker is coming to town? I think I can get tickets. We should go see it."

"A ballet? We'll see. I've been swamped these days. If things slow down by then, maybe we can go."

"I miss dancing sometimes," Lena stared down at the swirling dishwater. "I was talking to mom the other night. She says Clara's thinking about auditioning for New World next year. She's pretty serious about it. More serious than I was. I wonder how far she'll go?"

"Dancing? Nah. She'd better get a real job. You had the right idea. Go to college, get a degree, settle down...it's the only way to get by these days."

There was the sound of dishes clinking together.

"Hey...Paul?"

"Yes, dear?"

"I've never had a blue dress. Never. I don't like blue."

"Do you? You don't like it? Huh...weird. I never knew."

"No. I didn't think you did."

Lena drew one of the dishes from the sink. She rubbed at a stubborn streak of grease on its surface. It refused to come off. Lena turned back to Paul to find that he was absorbed in his newspaper once more. He didn't notice her step up behind him. He didn't look at her, not once, not even as she brought the plate down on his head.



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