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I am an environmental engineer from Greece, with a passion for nature. I have always loved writing, which I now find even more exciting, as the internet has given writers of all ethnicities, an equal opportunity to share their thoughts with people from all over the world.
It's a cold November evening, and as I stand on my doorstep, I realize I have lost the key to my apartment. I frantically search again for it. It's not in my bag; it's not in my pocket; it's not in my wallet. My heart stops, my body goes on pause as I wait for my thoughts to catch up with the rest of my functions, and I start scolding myself. Out of all things, how did I lose my key? What if someone finds it and breaks into my house? Such a small, inexpensive piece of metal, yet so powerful that it upsets one's routine once it is lost. I realize I will have to call a locksmith. I collect my thoughts and, as I start looking in my bag for my cell phone with my fingertips, I palpate its irregular shape, its serrated edges, its smooth metal surface. It had been inside the lining, all this time, under a small tear.
I had read the statistics. Friday and Sundays were the best days for one to use the laundromat. Or was it Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, when most people are working and they don't have time for such junk? I always thought that doing the laundry must have been one of the most tedious, time-consuming and uninspiring chores since humans realized they had to wash their own clothes. It was Sunday morning and the day came that I had completely run out of fresh clothes, for the first time since I had moved into the apartment complex a few weeks ago. Having no clothes, I had to finally to use the building's laundromat, the only space in the building I had not yet visited. In my mind, it was a creepy, disordered room with a musty smell, dim lighting and soiled laundry scattered all over the place. With an overloaded basket of clothes on my left hip and the rest of my body pointing in the opposite direction, I headed off to the ground floor to live my nightmare. So, it was no wonder that I felt astonished as I stood at the door, staring at the laundromat with awe. It was a tidy, sunny, large room with beige vinyl tile flooring that matched the sparkling clean washing machines that were neatly arranged next to each other on the wall. There were no tumble dryers in the room, only three metal chairs placed side by side, with red checked fabric seats, for the residents to use while they waited for their laundry to finish. Although the room was spotless and beautifully decorated with plants that seemed to be enjoying the bright rays of the sun, the room seemed to belong to another era. The appliances were old and outdated and the fabric on the furniture was worn out, almost forming bald patches at places. “Excuse me. How do I insert the coin?”I asked a young woman that was sitting in the corner on an old wooden chair, next to a vending machine in the corner, waiting for her clothes. She was resting her chin on her hand and only when I approached her did I realize that her eyes were closed. She seemed exhausted. She opened her eyes and stared at me with an expressionless face. “Hi,” I continued, but she did not reply and instead of feeling offended by her coldness, my curiosity got the better of me. There was no way I would leave a place without asking questions or trying to get answers or use my inquisitive mind to get to the bottom of things. “What's wrong, dear?,” I asked tenderly. The young woman gave me a cold stare, then burst into tears. I didn't know why she was crying, it did not matter anymore. I was glad I was there to give her my shoulder to cry on, as I watched her washing machine go into its last spin.