on the lam in the laundry room


I had just plopped myself down on the couch with my fresh bowl of chickpeas and tomatoes. I had only woken about 20 minutes beforehand, and my hair was tied back in frizzy day-old braids, topped off with an Aunt Jemima style kerchief securing the whole mess in place. In plaid pajama bottoms and an over sized sweatshirt, with a box of tissues positioned never more than one foot away from my grasp, I felt almost as bad as I looked.

Before I had a chance to get but one spoonful of food into my mouth, the doorbell rang.

It should be noted here that our doorbell rarely rings, especially on a Sunday. On a weekday, it's automatically assumed that UPS rang the bell, and the door-answering duties are left up to my dad. But this was a Sunday. And my grandmother had already been over for coffee in the morning and left. When you take her and UPS off the list of possible visitors, you're left with an empty page.

My brother went to the door while my mom and I exchanged anxious glances. Our house looked like a tornado had just blown through, and I looked like I had been sucked in and spit out during the storm. Neither of us wanted anyone to see the wreckage.. she meant the house, I meant me.

So my brother opened the door, and who would it be but an old family friend that hadn't visited in about 10 years. The last time she saw me, I was a little pre-teen with straight A's who was properly dressed and showered. So in a fit of panic, not wanting to ruin this image of me as a clean little girl by letting her see me in all my sick, pajamed, hair-kerchiefed glory, I grabbed my tomatoes and chickpeas and made a beeline for the laundry room.

The laundry room is right next to the kitchen, where our guest was invited to sit down. I knew I'd be in there for a while when I heard my mom offer coffee, so I had to find a way to quietly sit down. In the tiny room, my only option for getting comfortable without making noise was to slowly descend into the empty laundry basket sitting on the floor.

So there I sat, in a laundry basket in the dark laundry room for 3o minutes without making a peep. Me, my pajamas, my day old braids, my chickpeas and my tomatoes.