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Laundry Day At The Rio

October 24, 2010

Laundry Day at the Rio–a short story

I have seen on the television the machine that washes clothes. I think to myself how lonely it must be in that room all alone with just that machine and no friends to talk to and nothing to look at except the wall in front of you. I’m such a lucky woman. I get to spend laundry day with many other women and children.

As I prepare (daysayuno) breakfast of huevos and tortillas for my husband and children they know why Im smiling and humming a little tune. Yes, today is laundry day the best day of the week. This is when I see all the other women of the neighborhood and hear all the (chismoso) gossip. It is are only day when all the children play in the (rio) river and there are no men to be waited on. And we are free to just enjoy the other women at the river, talking and laughing, sometimes scolding a child or two.

As I wrap the laundry in a big sheet and place it on my head, I feel the weight of the week lift off my stooped shoulders and I walk proudly down the hill to the river. In front of me I hear my children laughing and calling to their friends. They quickly drop their bundles of laundry on a rock for me to wash. Then they run and jump into the cool, clean beautiful water, and we all hear their screams of joy. Oh, yes, this is going to be a good laundry day.

I see my friend, Lupe, we wave and smile, but I keep walking. I’m looking for Maria. Everyone knows that Maria has all the news of the (pueblo) village and she tells the best stories. I’m never sure if it is all true or not, but today I hope it will all be the truth and that she has heard news about Davy ( well that is his new gringo name) . Everyone know that Davy is my best friend and has been since we were children, so no one will gossip if I ask about Davy.

As I unwrap my laundry and prepare my pool of water for soaking the clothes, I watch Maria out the corner of my eye. You always need to see what mood she is in before you ask her about anything. Even though Maria loves to talk, somedays she may turn on you and tell you what everyone in the pueblo is saying about you. I have big hopes that today is a good day for Maria and me.

Hola Maria, como estas, then I wait a few minutes to see if she wants to talk or not. Maria is in a good mood today, I can tell. She immediately tells me, “See your friend Lupita, she is very sad today. Last night her husband Pepe, came home drunk again and no money. Pepe, has a girlfriend and she might be (embarazada) pregnant”. Maria laughs and says, ” That Pepe, he is like a rooster in a hen house, maybe Lupita should wring his neck and have him for Sunday dinner”. Oh, yes, Maria is in a good mood today.

I build up my courage and say softly ” Maria, I havent heard from Davy for a month. Do you think he is okay”? Maria smiles and tells me ” Don’t worry about that man, he’s been swimming the river since he was fourteen. That old Rio Grande and Davy are friends. Just wait and see Davy will be back in Mexico with a little money for everyone in a few months. He’s an honest and good man. He works hard in ( los Estados Unidos) the United States. Besides the priest and I pray for Davy everyday. Your friend will come home soon. Oh, your friend, Lupita is coming. Maybe you should go help her with her laundry.” Gracias Maria and adios.

As I gather my children, wrap up my laundry and climb the steep hill from the river to my home. I hum a little tune, hug my children and wave to the other women still doing their laundry or visiting with a friend. I am happy.

I love the river, the other women and their children, the laughter, the gossip. But best of all I love laundry day

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