She always liked how I did her laundry. Truth be told, I liked doing her laundry, too. I would guess at what she was doing by her laundry. I would look at the grass stains, the caked-on mud, and the mysterious bodily fluids and fantasize scenarios about what she did to get such soiling. She was busy. Always creating dirty laundry.
I would always smell her laundry, as much a part of the process as detergent or setting the length of the spin cycle. Ah, the spin cycle.
Even the nefarious stains, each with their own tell-tale olfactory clues, could not mask away her own womanly scent. How would I describe it? Her scent is she. As real as the train approaching when you’ve been tied down to the tracks, yet as elusive as a unicorn. As much to do with the real world as a cloud, yet when I smell she, I smell life on Earth—evolution, foraging, mating, and natural selection. I smell the intangible of joy. Like the tesseract, it cannot be categorized within the limitations of mere human sensorium. It is victory, submission, defiance, conquest, and surrender all rolled into one.
It is she.
I lift one of her very personal items to my face and inhale deeply. I am with her when I do this. I am lifted; I leave, out-of-body, coasting on the pleasure of my forebrain. The second cranial nerve has allowed me to appreciate her beauty. The eighth cranial nerve has allowed me to harmonize to her song. But my first cranial nerve is a gift from God. Pheromones blow me into a singularity, all places and one simultaneously. I am drunk with her scent.
She. Just the word, with its digraphical phoneme…
Pheromones and phonemes. She. With its unvoiced fricative, my vocal chords don’t even vibrate until I get to the long ē. But it is worth the wait. It is when the angels join the chorus of my pleasure.
I sit atop the washer, sorting and smelling, separating and sniffing. When I think I have exhausted all of the odorifics contained thereon, I let it slip through the open door to join the others. The t-shirt with its musky tale of mammalian exertions. The scarf, sure to be ruined by the machine, with the alchemy of its man-made perfume concocting with the fragrance of she a bouquet of marriage between her and the rest of the world and all its wonders, not the least of which is the wonder of herself.
On second thought, I reach back in to retrieve the previous olfaction delight. I have not exhausted it, and I bask one more time in the fragrance of lovely, of feminine, and of implied symbiosis with me.
I appraise her other clothing, piece by piece. The bend of her knee here, the flex of her elbow there. Pivots that separate her sinews and pumping muscles. Rhythmic tightening and relaxations, glistening with the thinnest layer of moisture that sparkles magically on her faint hair. Bodily functions contained within a working model of woman, sculpted from fulfillment. I dream of these sinews and pumping muscles atop myself, and both of us atop this very washing machine. Machinations and machines come together today because it is wash day.
I reach for a towel. It is a heavy towel and it is not even dirty. It will conflict with the delicates; it will upset the balance of the rotation. It is on purpose: I want an uneven load. I place a detergent packet into the machine, to wipe the slate clean, to start over, to deliver to me the next generation of sensory enchantments. I push the right buttons.
The machine is an old one. It is not level, again, on purpose. I can feel the warmth on my bare buttocks as it begins its cycle of operation. I become aroused. If she were to walk in now, she would see it plainly.
She knows the game. She enters and feigns surprise, then outrage. She approaches me tenuously, testing each step as she does. Her livid expression undergoes devolution into one of lust. The machine is rumbling in its excitement. My arousal becomes stronger, crying for help. She disrobes, letting her things drop methodically and silently to the floor, staring into my eyes the entire time. Sex isn’t with genitals, it is with the brain.
It is with the soul.
She wants to join me during the machine’s excitation phase. Nude, a word that only portrays beauty, is not correct; she is naked, the better word, because it is the name that promises action. She steps up on a footstool and then throws one leg over my lap. Next she is sitting on top of me, insertion completed in one fell swoop. Deftly. I am surprised at her moisture. Again, the wrong word. She is wet, the name for love.
In the next phase of the machine’s cycle, there is a plateau during which it maintains a continued churning agitation. My anticipation builds, as we await the next phase. The thin layer of moisture on each of us is now the only thing between us. Alternating movements and alternating current both conspire to initiate in each of us the next phase of the cycle. The machine pauses. It is a spinal pause in us, as well, like that one moment on the roller coaster where the chain that drags the cars up the first and highest hill disengages in preparation for the headlong rush into the lake of adrenaline below. Chink, chink, chink, chink…then… the moment for which I have waited.
The spin cycle.
My friend, the heavy towel, creates the uneven load. The bespoke footpads, upon which the machine sits unevenly, partner with the towel. If the water-filling of the machine was the excitement and the agitation the plateau, the spin cycle is our climax. Woman and man and machine are one, as centripetal battles centrifugal and undulation and reciprocal pumping become cohorts. And that smell, she, wafts up to engulf us. Not just she, however, but us.
The spin reaches its peak as do we, and once again I am submerged within muscles and sinews and soul.The machine is frantic, the woman is ravenous, and the man is desperate. The sum greater than the addition of the parts.
There is a physiological reckoning in us when the machine now experiences its final phase, its spin down. It is a resolution, as we collapse in our own spindown. When all of the torque is spent, so are we. All is quiet—woman and man and machine.
I look down to regard the clothing she had removed before. I look back up toward her and she smiles.
“Very dirty clothes,” I say to her. They promise another laundry day.