Two of a kind
“And how did you lose him?”, asked the officer. She was stunned in grief and barely heard his question. After about a minute, he prompted her once again. This time she let out a long sigh, kept her eyes lowered and began telling him how.
“We went in together for our weekly wash. It was a Monday and we recognised several other regulars. The mood was upbeat as always and we quite looked forward to a warm, swirling good time. No sooner had we settled down than the door was shut. Soon the water started seeping in and everyone went quiet with excitement. Gradually, the water level started to rise. Any minute now, I heard him say and in an instant, we were being tossed about in a deafening whoosh. The water seemed cooler than the usual 40 degrees. I was later informed by someone that it’s all part of the new eco-drive which recommended lowering water temperatures. As we tumbled about gaily in the company of other couples, I had little idea that this would be our last few minutes together.
Before we knew it, the water had drained and I shut my eyes in anticipation of what was to come. I clung to him like my life depended on it. I could tell he was smiling at me even though my eyes were closed. And in a flash we were off. Hurtling down the curves and roaring up the arches, we spun about at a dizzying speed. I felt as if every last drop of water was being squeezed out of me. We careened round and round before finally coming to a rest. It took me forever to open my eyes. And even when I did, I could only see squiggles and wriggles of floating colours. It was only after a few minutes that I realised that he wasn’t by my side.
At first I assumed he’d gotten tangled with someone else. But as I sifted through the gathering, I realised with mounting panic that he was gone. I’d heard of stories of those that had disappeared through the black hole. But never once thought it could happen to me. I pushed past and prod through huge tumbling masses in the hope of finding him. I kept calling out his name but deep down, I knew I’d lost him forever. There was nothing to do now except wait for the doors to be opened and for us to be let out…”
As she paused in her narration, the officer seized the opportunity to get cracking with the paperwork. “If you could fill in his name and description over here”, he said tapping his pen on a pink application form, “we’ll see what we can do.” “Will he…?”, she started enquiring when he cut her short. “We can promise you nothing, madam”, he replied in a voice that was intended to snuff out any hope she may have had.
She picked herself up and with heavy steps started making her way to the door. When she turned around to see if she could squeeze in one last question with the officer, he had already moved on to his next client – an elderly red glove. I will come back on Friday, she promised herself. We are a pair and that’s the way we will always be, she mumbled shuffling quietly out of the Dept of Lost Personnel, Ministry of Laundry.