“Oh, praise baby lord god jesus of heaven and hell!” I said as we threw in the last of our laundry. It was 8:34PM, four minutes past last load, and we’d made it by the grace of the attendant alone, even as her boyfriend who waited outside in his car tried to block us.
“It’s gotta be in at 8:30, you can’t come in here!” he’d yelled across the lot as my Someone ran the load inside yelling back “I got 8:30 RIGHT NOW!”
We were feeling haggard from long drives and quick errands, trying to maintain a sense of balance in a more chaotic week. That morning in Indiana, we’d bought ourselves a new mattress with real springs to replace our lumpy pad we’d slept on for the last four years. We picked up new sheets with llamas on them after our show in Ohio to replace the holey ones my mother had bought us at the start of our camper living. We needed all things new. We needed all things put together. We needed all things clean. And dammit if some dude who wanted his girlfriend out of work early tonight was going to stop us.
I watched the washer fill with water as my eyes filled with tears. The woman beside me did the same. Then she turned to me and said, “Lord, there ain’t no feeling like getting to the laundromat in the nick of time.” Then she wiped her own tears and sat down to wait.
In the aftermath, I listen to Kesha. And I am in the aftermath. This time, of my parents. After years of trying, after pleas of asking them to love me– or at least to call me– they pulled the plug. There was a scene, there was crying, and there was my father telling me he’d never call me again and slamming to door to get to church on time to worship the Lover of the World. There’s more to it, but in this stage on this day, the details don’t seem to matter. My parents have broken up with me, and the searing in my heart needs Kesha.
We listen as she sings for kids with no religion, backed promptly by her prayers. She sees no conflict, so I don’t either. As far as I can tell as we charged across I-80 from Indiana to Ohio, Saint Kesha of the Broken Hearted Party Bus can be heard by God better than any of us. All aboard.
I’m working it out. I journal. I talk to friends. I write songs. I try to treat others better. But also, I get a new mattress. I quit punishing myself for being unlovable, and instead love myself, hoping to set off a chain reaction. And I watch my llama sheets gratefully as they swirl around in the last load of the night in a crappy laundromat outside of Cleveland, and count my stupid blessings.
“Are you looking for your basket?” the woman asked me. I wasn’t, but I nodded anyway.
“When you stepped out,” she said, “there was a spider. Like a big one– you didn’t want to take it home, okay?”
She gestured across the floor. I looked to where she pointed. There was a massive spider, legs up and a little squished.
“It was heading right toward your basket when you stepped out, so I moved it, and then we killed it. I’m telling you, you were bound to take it with you, and I wouldn’t let it happen. So I moved your basket.”
“Thank you!” I said, genuinely.
“Yeah! Of course, but you owe me something in return,” she said.
“Ummmm…” I started.
“Listen,” she pushed, “I got a whole list. God’ll know what you’re saying, but let Her know that She can throw in anything extra, too, outside the list– okay?”
I considered it. I didn’t think that I prayed. I don’t even think I looked like I pray.
…I know that I’m perfect, even though I’m fucked up… Kesha sang in my head.
“Yes,” I said.
“Yes?” the lady said.
“Sure, I will.”
“Thank you,” she said.
That night, I slept on a new mattress with clean sheets. It wasn’t a great night of sleep. I had a Kesha soundtrack running through my head. But I suspect an intercession– Saint Kesha of the Orphaned, Abused, and Laundering was heard louder somewhere than a few diligent Our Fathers.