Best of 1874 Long Form Prose

Magnification: A Basket of Laundry

The Blacklight Candelabra says:

There’s much in nature that the naked eye can’t perceive without assistance . . .

It shows us the magnified eye of a fly, which looks nothing like you would think an eye would look and challenges us to:

Use words to accomplish similar revelations through magnification.

I chose as a topic a basket of laundry.

No Magnification

She gets home from work. Her baby wants her as soon as the household hears the door open. “Mommy’s home!” She goes straight for the baby who raises both her little arms cheering. She holds her baby in her arms. Her baby smells so good. She scans the kitchen and family room. It is a mess. She puts the baby in the carrier and starts to pick things up from the table and the floor. She puts them in the appropriate bins. Dinner is getting put on the table, but she is not hungry. Her son is talking and talking. She tells him she loves him and tells everyone she’ll just run upstairs for a minute. She gets upstairs and goes into her closet to change. She puts the baby on the floor and she puts her pajamas on. There is a basket of clean unfolded laundry on the closet ottoman. She looks down at her baby daughter who is happily playing. She starts to fold the laundry. She is really good at folding laundry. After a few minutes, she sinks to the floor and starts to cry.

1st Degree Magnification

She was anxious in the car coming home from work. She is anxious that this is being written about at all. When she arrives at home she rushes over to her baby, as though she’s crossing the finish line and her time is nearly up. She scans the house. The toys and things on the kitchen table and floor irk her. She feels suffocated. She knows what to do, how to clear this up. She puts the baby in the carrier and starts to pick things up. She does it with force and purpose. Striding strongly back and forth, back and forth. It feels so good to put things in the appropriate bins. Why is her son talking so much? Dinner is an uncomfortable affair lately because the baby cries when she sits down and tries to grab the utensils and food away from her. It is a struggle. She resents the others for getting to sit down and eat. She goes upstairs and into her gargantuan closet and feels relief. It’s just her and her baby girl. She sees the basket of laundry. She looks down at her baby girl who is happily playing. She wonders briefly why her daughter always seems happier when they are alone. She says to herself, “I can fold this laundry. I’m okay.” She starts to fold the laundry. She sinks to the floor and starts to cry.

2nd Degree Magnification

She is so tired. She used to drive the 5 miles home as though wolves were at her neck. She’s learned now to breathe in and out and accept that she cannot tele-transport home. She is afraid she will disappoint everyone at home because she is too tired to give them what she thinks they ought to have. Her baby smells so good! She cannot stay away. She feels guilty that dinner is being put on the table and she doesn’t want to eat with her family. She is too tired. She must be some kind of freak to not want to eat with her family. Her son will grow up to be damaged somehow for this failure on her part. She feels guilty that she is too tired to talk to her son.  She gets upstairs and feels guilty that she is running away from the life downstairs. She sees the laundry basket with clothes to be folded. She is good at folding laundry. The unfolded laundry just cannot go on. She will not feel guilty for yet another thing. Her husband washed the laundry and brought it up and it is incumbent upon her to now fold it. She starts to fold the laundry and immediately, she thinks angrily, “Why am I folding this laundry? I shouldn’t be folding this laundry.” She sinks to the floor and starts to cry.

3rd Degree Magnification (or the Fourth Dimension)

She is so grateful she can enjoy her car ride home now. She cannot wait to see her little children. The baby smells so good! She feels uncertain to see her son. They used to be so close and since the baby came they are readjusting their relationship. People tell her things will work out better than she could expect. Her heart swells to see her lived in house. This is the house of her dreams. She’s so glad she realized before it was too late that she wanted a lived in house with books and toys all over the place. She kisses her baby girl and breathes in her wonderful baby smell. She is so grateful her husband took care of dinner; takes care of dinner almost every night. She will go upstairs now because she is very tired. She is so grateful that she has not only her husband but an au pair to help. She takes her baby girl with her and changes into her pajamas. She sees the laundry basket on the ottoman in her closet. She has an ottoman in her closet! She is too tired to even think about folding laundry today. It will be there tomorrow. She scoops up her baby girl and goes to turn on a movie. Her husband and son will come upstairs soon.

A happy family is but an earlier heaven. – George Bernard Shaw

The featured image is “Mother With Children” by Gustav Klimt painted in 1909-1910. The original is in a private collection. Works by Klimt (1862-1918) are in the public domain


I write abecedarian sequences

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