Broken Bow, NE

Laundry Day is the only time I leave the house.

The smell of dryer sheet lavender swims in the humid air. I sit facing the window on a hard, plastic chair with a Diet Dr. Pepper between my legs, wearing black leather shoes without socks. The cornfield in the window goes on forever. I wait for my mother’s laundry to finish.

The fading red sun illuminates the miles of golden corn. We spent our summers scratching skin on stalks twice our height. Jenny would always hide from me but come out just as I started to panic. Alex’s cat was the only one I ever knew that didn’t land on its feet. His used to drop it on its back in a docile lump.

I listen to my tinny, in-ear headphones and the dull whir of industrial dryers, waiting for that five-second buzz to signify the end of the cycle. I imagine I’m in Omaha, making money and rushing from place to place, looking forward to drowning sorrows in downtown bars. I wonder what it’s like out there.

They don’t come home anymore.