‘Ciao’, a morning voice broke my concentration. It was my neighbour at the window in front of me, armed with washing and a handful of pegs. ‘Oh, ciao Monica’, we often met here at the same hour of the day, in the same pose. I continued to hang my laundry on the pulley system that had been created in this long trim courtyard in the centre of our apartment building.
‘Merda’, I heard Monica blaspheme as her pure white t-shirt drifted to the ground to play in the coloured playground. None of us ever rescued the pegs but clothing, well that was another story. Once retrieved it would be covered in dirt and grime. It happened to me once,frightened and vulnerable enveloped in the stale confines of the building, I’d grabbed my white singlet top streaked with dust and blackness and run up the four flights of stairs without stopping. They said rats lived below.
How I longed for a hills hoist. The laundry looked so happy hanging there as it twisted and turned, partying in the wind. I would watch it for hours when I went home on holidays. Watched it baking in the sun, whites whiter than white. The fresh and clean smell of happy laundry is something not easily forgotten.
The sun never reached the courtyard, my laundry couldn’t dance in the wind or frollick as it spun around. It wasn’t happy like the laundry back home.”