‘I can’t do this,’ she whispers.
She retrieves a pair of smart black trousers from the wardrobe and lays them out on the bed. Shirt next. She has one in mind. It’s newish. Plainish. Smartish. First day material. It will help her blend in. But it isn’t where it’s supposed to be.
Hangers screech as she slides them left to right and right to left on their rail. It has to be there. It has to be hiding. It has to be.
She lunges for the wash basket, flips back the lid, and rifles through stale garments. It’s there, right at the bottom, crumpled into a ball.
Tears want to spill but she breathes and assesses the damage. She shakes the shirt out and examines it, front and back. Lots of creases. No stains, at least. A tentative sniff decides it; quick iron, spritz of Febreze, splash of perfume, and it’ll do the job.
She stubs her toe on the bed frame as she gathers up her outfit.
She traps a finger in the stiff hinge of the ironing board as she erects it.
She scatters bottles of cleaning products across the kitchen floor as she retrieves the iron from under the sink.
The iron is dead. The little light won’t turn on. It doesn’t get hot. Something inside it rattles when she shakes it.
She clenches her jaw. ‘I can’t do this.’