Laura Grey spent a great deal of her time washing the kitchen floor. It was important to maintain a clean house. Even a slight smear marking the tiling felt like an insufferable contamination.

She had a polka dot mop that she had bought from David Jones one Saturday morning. The handle of the mop was curved to minimise awkward leaning and there was a soft rubber grove where her hand wrapped round.  It was a perfect fit. Sometimes, with a glass of wine in hand, she glided around the room  with the polka dot handle as if the spotted frame was a waltz partner.

David Jones seemed to occupy much more of her weekend than her husband, David. She loved the air conditioning and the free nuts in the food hall. Recently they had started offering cashews, a tad disappointing seeing as how they were her least favourite. Their floury texture and humdrum taste was displeasing at best. Still, she filled the pockets of her beige trench to the brim in the hope that Jamie Oliver would find them a home. Jamie Oliver was another strong presence in her life; he, along with David Jones, seemed thoroughly useful.

Her husband walked in interrupting her mental undress of the blonde, lisp-riddled Englishman.  David had just returned from his daily ramble around the neighbourhood. He regularly took long hiatuses away from the house where he would peer into the windows of others. He liked to create a personal census of everyone within a 5 km radius. He often stood and watched families interact. He imagined conversations with his neighbours about their children’s debut football matches. Of course, he’d have to feign ignorance, for he already knew which children were to make the local team. His voyeuristic hobby had given him a treasure trove of suburban knowledge.

Smiling cheerily at his wife, David mentioned the weather, ‘It’s getting pretty hot out there,’ and continued on through.   “Yes”, she replied, “I expect it is.”

She could go an sit in the sun. She was done with the kitchen. She raced to her bedroom, suddenly very eager to be out of the closed walls. She put on a tired blue bathing suit, grabbed her bargain bin book and raced to the veranda. She would relax and let the sun penetrate her pores.

It really was rather hot. Her exposed thighs began to sweat in the heat. The burn of the midday sun was not as appealing as she’d hoped. In fact, it proved to be needlessly tiring.

There was a smear on the grey tiled kitchen floor.


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