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Laundro Matt

December 9th, 2018 Leave a comment Go to comments

His name wasn’t Matt, but I always referred to him that way, and after a while it was just an inside joke between us. He was actually named Terrance but everyone just called him Rinse. The Matt thing was from a conversation we were having late one night about interior wall paint of all things, and he wouldn’t budge on his opinion that matte finish was superior to all other varieties. I was so amused by his insistence that I began making a joke about it whenever I saw him. This eventually led me to start pretending his name was Matt. It’s hard to explain, as most inside jokes are.

As far as I know, there was never a day he didn’t spend the majority of sitting amongst all those washing machines, just watching the suds and colors roll around. Go to the laundromat on a Sunday morning, he was there. Tuesday night? Friday afternoon? Sitting there, staring at the machines. Honestly, I’m not sure any of the laundry was ever even his. I once had insomnia so badly that I opted to head over and wash some work shirts at 3:00 am on a weeknight, and there sat Matt, vigilant as ever. By then I had stopped asking him why he never left or what was so special about watching a spin cycle again and again.

Because he wouldn’t tell you directly. There was always an answer of some sort, but they were muddled and vague, the type of response that would stop you short because suddenly a labyrinth of follow up questions lay before you. Allusions to concentration and a loss of “time friction” were the clearest explanations I managed to get, and after a while, there didn’t seem any point in inquiring at all. It would only frustrate me and derail our conversations, which I typically found difficult to follow but enjoyed all the same. What difference did it make? Matt was just there.

And then he wasn’t. One evening I walked into the laundromat and sensed something wrong before I even realized what it was. The other customers had worried looks on their faces, and I curiously glanced at several before realizing the most common one was missing. No one seemed to know what had happened or where Matt would have gone. Rinse had left. People were buzzing. We weren’t even sure if he had a home. He had always been his standard cryptic self if the topic ever arose, and I suddenly felt defeated for having never penetrated his wall. I left shaken and worried, not bothering to wash any of my clothes, though I still peered into each of the washers before leaving, as if he might be inside one.

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