by Abigail Parlier
Artwork by Sydney McBride
You hung a length of string from one side of the living room to the other and sent me off with a stack of clean washcloths and clothespins to ‘help’ you do laundry.
You went through the front door to retrieve clothes from the line outside because you used the summer heat instead of a dryer.
You buried your face in the piles of cotton and linen and took in fresh air and the smell of sunshine instead of your usual cigarette.
You prattled on about how you wished someone would figure out how to bottle that smell because there was nothing like it.
I didn’t think anything of it.
You were there and
I was 5 years old.
I hung my clothes outside on a broken drying rack and hoped that the wind wouldn’t knock my clean laundry on the ground.
I went through the back door to retrieve my clothes from the porch because I used the spring warmth instead of a dryer.
I buried my face in the piles of cotton and linen and took in fresh air and the smell of sunshine. I despise the scent of cigarettes.
I didn’t prattle on about how I wished someone would figure out how to bottle that smell because there was no one home to listen to me. But there is still nothing like that smell.
I thought of you today.
You are gone and
I am twenty years old.