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Writing Challenge #5: The Job - I Don't Do Ironing

Posted Jan 11 2010 9:02am

Write of passage

This is part of a writing challenge at {W}rite-Of-Passage, a community of bloggers who are looking to get back to the writing part of blogging and brainchild of my friend, Mrs. Flinger.  Today’s challenge was to write about your first "real" job.


My twin brother left very early in the morning, to begin his basic training in Louisiana (I think) and I, however, was already running late.

"Did you remember to iron your father a shirt?"

I shook my head and reached for my mother's can of Aqua Net.

"Well, don't forget..."

I kissed my mother's cheek and pretended not to notice it was wet, or that she tasted slightly salty.  She slowly put on her rings, wiped around her eyes with her finger, one last time and then finally slipped her watch around her wrist.

"Have a good day."

She smiled, awkwardly. 

"You, too."

I unplugged the curling iron, closed my eyes, held my breath and sprayed like there was no tomorrow, fully knowing that it would take at least 3 shampoos to get it all out again, the next day, anyway.


I leaned out the bathroom door, sticky hairspray can in hand, inhaled deeply, and realized that I had once again, burned my toast.


I squinted at the kitchen clock, its face stained to a pale yellow from years of sitting over pan steak and fried chicken, and saw that I was now, going to be very late.

"Where are my damn cigarettes?"

I shrugged my shoulders and pretended to not notice my father's terribly blood-shot eyes.

"Dunno, but I'll have your shirt ironed in a minute, okay?"

He quickly turned his back before answering me.

"What time do you have to be at work, again?"

I told him not to worry about it, but he'd already closed the bathroom door, causing the clock on the wall to shake, as if I needed anymore reminding.

"...I'll be fine."

I turned and hurried into my room, knocked my right hip into the microwave cart and nearly sent the Pillsbury Dough Boy cookie jar sailing.


My mother left the ironing board next to my bed (thankfully) with the iron turned on and I pretended not to see the large pile of used tissues lying on my dresser.

I began to iron the collar, sleeves, shoulders, and sides, carefully coating each section with a fine mist of spray starch and finally finishing with the back of my father's work shirt -- newly washed and steamed to a crisp white and smelling slightly of lavender.

"See you, daddy."

I kissed my father's cheek, pointed at his shirt on my bed and pretended not to notice that he'd forgotten, or deliberately neglected, to shave.

"What time are you coming home?"

I grabbed my purse from the kitchen chair and turned to answer him, but he'd already closed my bedroom door.

"I love you, daddy."

However late, I may be.

[Note: Although, I get how it wasn't the best of mornings, for ANY of us, my new boss, the president of a chemical company, was a little less good-natured about it, at the time and 7 years later, the first words to my future husband were, "I DON'T DO IRONING!"]

Other folks participating, today:

Write on!

[Click here to view past Writing Challenges]

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