The smell of the laundry is wafting in the air. The dryer is whirring while a multitude of cars pass by you by. You're thirty years old, female, sitting on a stool outside, just by the door of the laundromat, clutching a Van Gogh notebook that you honestly can't afford. Well, you could, afford it, but it belongs nowhere in your budget, which is cramped with meals that should be less than a quarter of a buck. You're not the emblem of poverty, per se, but you're definitely not a posh middle-aged woman with a glorious moleskin journal. You do have a car, the one you drive to the laundromat with air conditioning you can't afford to fix alongside its broken door handles and stuck windows. You're financially better off to not have your car washed tonight because you spent that money on the pretty Van Gogh notebook. Fake, but pretty. You do have a house where the air conditioning works, the internet manageable, and the pillows hail from trendy furniture shops. You're okay. Thanks to your ancestry, you're okay.
You've got some pretty good quality blood coursing your veins. Your DNA pattern descended from some form of a business tycoon grandfather who raised an autocratic daughter (your mother). You've got it in you.
Except, you're sort of more like your father who hails from a family of lawyers and middle school teachers, who never really graduated college and at one point raised ducks for a living and that must have been good except he closed that down too as he shut himself from the rest of the world, went home to live in your grandmother's (his mother's) spare room, where he died refusing meals.
You wish he were a writer. You wish he had a secret stash of books and journals, just like you. You secretly want him to be like you if only to explain this kind of girl that you are. But you will never really find a stash of journals because you have never really been to where he lived long enough to go inside his room and peek through his belongings. You've never ever been with him, not for longer than an hour so you never really knew what he was like and so this was all you could manage to tell the world when it asked you to speak at his funeral. You couldn't even remember his birthday. You told them this.
There were a handful of people. Some of them spoke of your father intimately like they knew him, but then they'd say that they never really knew what he thought because he always kept to himself. They said he sat by the porch every day at four in the afternoon waiting for sunsets. He was always quiet, they said, and on your birthday, he'd always remember you, they said. "It's her birthday today." Imagine quietly hearing this from a man who almost never spoke.
Your fondest memory of him was when he couldn't say anything, except cry because you were in front of him. But then you were crying so much louder than he was so he took you home to your mother instead. He was never able to say anything and you were never more afraid in your life. You were ten. Your life wasn't much then and he must have thought of you as his life except you couldn't stand to be in it.
At ten, you were sure that you were going to be your mother. Although secretly this was an even bigger fear than the fear you felt when you had your longest moment with your father. You don't know how to become your mother. She was excellent and you liked keeping to yourself better. You liked your journals better while your mother loved her humans, who she'd always say she was serving-- although to you it always looked like they were serving her. You'd know this because you were their princess. They served you as though to serve her. So much convenience there was in a chauffered car and never having to worry about tuition fees and new clothes and expensive birthday cakes. But all this royalty was before she passed, because when she did, to them, you became the chrysalis of her shadow; they're all waiting for you to become exactly like her.
Except you've always preferred the scent of laundry wafting in the air, a Van Gogh journal at the tip of your palm, and the magic of whirring noises that become an odd string of words flowing from the tip of your cheap ballpoint pen. But then you see, your father never kept a secret stash of journals in his room. Your mother did. Despite the inability to love literature as you did, your mother wrote eloquent speeches which she delivered charmingly to the crowd that helped her raise you. And like you, she kept to herself sometimes, too, as she wrote on journals which she stashed by her locked office drawers, that gaped open only when she drank brandy poured in a coffee mug, often in the middle of the night, as you sleep, or so she thought you did.