Laundry day is exhausting but it is also rewarding and I enjoy it. My sisters don’t so I do laundry while they clean the house. In the summer we do the washing every other week.
The water is warm, the sun is shining and the birds are singing. I join along with them as I scrub the last of the sheets and start the drying process. For this part I have to call for my sister to come out. We twist each item and then pull to get the excess water off before hanging it on the clothesline.
When everything is hung up my sister goes inside and I weed my little garden while I wait for the clothes to dry. I sing as I work which always makes the time go faster. When I’m finished I sit down under the tree in our yard to read.
The girls should be done in the house by now and they don’t need me. The sunshine makes me drowsy and soon I’m asleep on the grass. Bubbles, butterflies, and songs fill my head until a noise wakes me. I sit up and straighten my clothes and hair while I’m looking around. It was probably nothing.
I stand and check the laundry. Most of it is dry so I take it down and put it in baskets to fold. As I work a boy walks out of the trees towards me. I recognize him from school but don’t know his name. He is very handsome, tall and strong with curly black hair and soft brown eyes.
A part of me wants to run into the house but I stay and keep working.
Maybe if I ignore him he will leave. But do I really want him to go away.
“Hello.” He says quietly.
“Hi,” I say.
“I’m Israel,” he says offering his hand.
I take it “I’m Angel.”
He looks awkwardly at the ground and I keep folding clothes.
“You forgot your necklace at school,” he says finally “I was going to bring it to you but my family left for Cinagro over the spring.”
He hands me a small necklace with a heart pendant. My eyes widen and I do my best not to snatch it.
“Thank you,” I whisper taking it from his hand.
My grandma gave me this necklace and I lost it on the last day of school. I went back the next day to look for it but it was gone.
Israel turns around as if to leave but the back door of my house opens. My sister walks out and stops in the middle of what she was about to say.
She looks surprised and then amused.
“Time for supper Angel, and why don’t you bring your boyfriend.” She laughs and then walks back inside.
I blush but Israel seems to think it’s funny. He turns to leave again.
“Uh, would you like to stay for supper?” I ask quickly before he can.
He brought me my necklace the least I can do is give him a meal.
“Sure.” He smiles and follows me inside.
Our house is dark inside, lighted only by oil lamps. The table is set and my mom put the silver candles out. Clara must have told her about Israel.
I introduce Israel and explain about him finding my necklace. We all sit down and my mother prays for the food.
We eat in awkward silence for a few minutes before my mother starts asking Israel questions. After that conversation starts and I can tell everyone likes him. I keep eating quietly, joining in sometimes and sneaking glances at Israel.
When the meal is finished I stand up to clear the table and start dishes. I walk to the kitchen and start warming water on the oven. Israel walks into the room bringing his plate with him. He sets it on the counter and pumps another bowl full of water.
The water gets warm and I start washing. Israel finds a towel and dries the dishes as I rinse them.
“Oh, you don’t have to do that.” I say quickly.
“It’s alright, I’m used to doing dishes. I’m an only child so I do dishes all the time.” He says not stopping.
We work quietly together and I find myself enjoying it.
“Thank you,” I say when we’re done, looking into his eyes for the first time.
“You’re welcome.” He answers with an easy smile “Guess I better leave now, thanks for the meal.”
“Thank you for bringing back my necklace,” I say.
I walk him to the door noticing that everyone is gone from the main room. Israel opens the door and I see that it is raining. I smile at the beautiful sound but then realize that I forgot to bring in the laundry.
I run outside and gather the rest of it into the baskets as quickly as I can. I pick up one and run it back to the house already soaked to the bone. I turn to get the other one but Israel is already bringing it into the house. All the clothes are wet and so are Israel and I. I laugh at our bedraggled state and thank Israel once again.
I’ll have to do laundry all over tomorrow, for a now though I just want to get dry. I curl up in front of the fireplace with a blanket and Israel does as well. My family suddenly appears and brings us tea. Slowly we get warm and dry.
“I’d better go,” Israel says standing up “thank you for your hospitality.”
“You can stay overnight,” my mother offers “it is still raining.”
“Thank you, but I have to get home. My parents will be worried about me.” He says.
We give him an old blanket to cover himself with and see him to the door.
“Goodbye,” I say meeting his eyes again “please come again.”
“It would be my pleasure.” He smiles and bows.
He leaves and I close the door leaning against it and pulling my blanket closer. My sisters giggle before going about their business. My mother gives me a kiss and sends me to bed.
I lay down slowly enjoying the feeling of my body relaxing. Laundry day can be exhausting but also rewarding and now I have another reason to enjoy it.