Separate the clothes. Try not to cry. Mine. Dawn's. Mine. Mine. Dawn's.
Pretty black dress she wore on her date. Happy and giggling then. Don't cry.
Wipe off the tears with Mom's black dress because there isn't anything else. And because it smells like her. Decide not to wash the dress. Maybe next time.
Wash. Running low on detergent and softner. Next time I'm at the store I'll get some. Cold for colors. Warm for whites.
She was warm. I remember she used to be warm. Warm and full of life. Not cold and dead on the couch, skin pale and waxy looking. Waxy *feeling.*
More tears that make my throat ache and my eyes puffy and my heart sick.
I miss you, Mom. So much.
Stare at the washer and fight hard not to run to my room. To Giles' arms. To anywhere that doesn't make me think of her. Anyplace that's a shelter from all the memories and maybe I could forget for a while.
But I don't want to forget. Never, never. Not ever.
I love you, Mom.
And I hate myself for every time I never told you. Every time I was mean. Every time I made you cry. Every time, Mom.
I hate myself for running away and missing those months with you. I can never get them back now, can I? I want them back. I want you back.
I want my mom.
And yet, life goes on.
But it shouldn't. My mother is *dead.* She is dead and she is never coming back and goddammit the world should recognize that. It should be on the front page of every newspaper, the top story on every TV news show. Instead what I get is a drug bust by vice cops in LA and a natural disaster. Which is fucking wrong. It's wrong, wrong wrong, wrong!
And thank God Dawn isn't here because I'm screaming and I can't stop.
I don't want to stop.
But the laundry needs to be put into the dryer and I have responsibilities.
I have Dawn to think about. My baby sister that isn't. She's hurting so much and I don't know what to do to make it better. I can't fix her if I can't fix myself, right? What do I tell her? What do I say? How do you explain death to someone when you can't even figure it out yourself?
This is so hard.
It's not fair.
And the tears won't stop and I don't know what to do. All I can do is stand in the middle of the laundry room, crying and screaming and wishing for something to hit.
And I can drop to my knees and I can lay down and I can be Somewhere Else for a while. At least until the dryer does it's eternal duty and buzzes, alerting me that the laundry is done.
And I can get up and fold the laundry and I can shove all the emotions back inside me because I have responsibilities. There are things I have to take care of--people I have to take care of--and I have to be strong to do that.
And I am. I am strong when I have to be. When it's needed. Strength is needed now because Dawn will be home soon and she might be scared if she saw me like this.
I have to be strong.
I miss you, Mom.
I love you.
I can't think about you right now and I know you understand. I hope you understand.
Same time next week?