Doing Laundry

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I live in Manhattan, New York City — in a towering skyscraper-apartment. There are more people in my building than in some towns.

We’re all piled up on top of each other, one floor after another, forty-five stories tall, some staying for a few months, others for years, in a community of our own.

Living in a building like this — in New York City – is different from living other places.

Part of what makes it unique is New York itself: There are great bars, clubs and restaurants open all hours — as you would expect in the city that never sleeps. The noise never stops either, taxis, buses, horns and sirens, which perhaps is why this is “the city that never sleeps.”

But it is also unique to live in a soaring tower. The view is great — I can see the Empire State Building, and the city lights. Small, everyday things make life different here, too. Like the garbage.

We take our garbage down the hall, not to the curb — and drop it into a garbage chute, where it magically disappears, falling and falling into a dark abyss, into an industrial sized compacter. And then there is laundry.

You see, these tiny apartments don’t have room for washers and dryers. Most buildings have one of two options, either the floor-by-floor or the basement.

The first option is to put a couple of laundry machines on each floor, but landlords don’t like that so much. If a washer overflows on, say, the 35th floor, everyone “downstairs” will have their apartments ruined as water cascades down to the ground floor.

The other option is to have one big laundry room in the basement, which is what mine has. Two floors below our lobby, deep underground, there is a sub-basement, and that’s where we have a large laundry room.

Despite the lack of windows it isn’t too bad — there are a couple of rows of low, energy efficient, front loading washers, two rows of dryers, and a pair of sturdy tables for folding and sorting. There are some windows that face into the hallway that makes it less claustrophobic, even if they are covered by decorative venetian blinds, and a door that locks so they can close the room overnight — though they never do, since people like to throw in a load of wash at odd hours.

The disadvantage of this kind of setup – the single, big laundry room in the basement – is that it can get crowded at peak hours, everyone jostling for machines, and by the end of the day there are abandoned clothes everywhere, until the place looks as if a giant Salvation Army box exploded after eating one too many sacks of old t-shirts.

So to beat the crowds I do my laundry on weekends, early in the morning. My routine is simple — I drag a sack of laundry downstairs, pop a few loads into the washing machine, hit the gym while the wash cycle runs, and then stick everything in the dryers before I head back upstairs.

That way I avoid the rush and take care of two things at once. There typically isn’t much in my laundry bag — ever since my wife and I separated after a long marriage (it seemed like 4,865 years, but may actually have been less — or more) I’ve been living alone, and since I send my dress shirts out to a laundry — I never could get that ironing thing down – there’s usually just a few bedsheets and odds and ends.

Very boring, right?

Until about a year ago.

As usual, I hit the gym while the washer ran, stuck a couple of loads in the dryer, brought everything up to my apartment and tossed the whole pile on the bed. I had a lot of errands to run, and so when my girlfriend came around for dinner she offered to help put things away.

We were idly folding t-shirts, mindlessly chit-chatting — one of those “together” moments that women love, when she suddenly drew in her breath and with a sharp exclamation nearly barked at me.

“WHAT is THIS!?”

On the end of her finger was a tiny, dainty, lacy pair of black underwear. She was holding them up as if they had cooties.

The thing is, they weren’t mine. (Not that there would have been anything wrong with that, right?)

And they definitely were not hers.

For starters, my girlfriend wasn’t “dainty” — which is fine with me, because I like women with real, soft, natural curves – but that’s another story.

I stammered out the honest truth.

“I have no idea what that is, but it looks like somebody’s underwear.”

It wasn’t going to be that simple.

“I can SEE that. Whose are they? Whose panties are YOU GETTING INTO? TELL ME! YOU OWE ME THAT!”

“No, I have no idea!”

“REALLY?! Funny, everything ELSE here is yours, and from this apartment.”

It just got worse. She was convinced that I was cheating on her. But I wasn’t – absolutely, positively not cheating on her.

I tried to explain.

You see, commercial washing machines routinely eat clothing, and spit it back out randomly. It isn’t uncommon to find other people’s lost laundry in yours, like one random little tiny kid’s sock, or a random washcloth — or a pair of your neighbor’s panties.

I eventually convinced canlı bahis her — I thought at the time — that I was telling the truth, but in hindsight I’m not sure she ever believed me.

Our sex life took an immediate, sharp nose dive, the atmosphere between us got chillier, and when we broke up a month later I was pretty sure it was the mystery panties that had triggered the rift. I think she threw those sexy black panties down the garbage chute — along with our relationship.

Life gradually returned to “normal”. Business trips, holidays. Living alone makes life simpler, I have to admit — but although I missed companionship, at my age — fifty something — dating wasn’t happening for me, so I kept busy and carried on.

It was about a year later — a cold, dark November Saturday morning — that I found myself again doing the laundry. I was sorting through it all on the bed, a nice warm, clean-smelling, fluffy pile of fabrics — and lo and behold, entwined with a pair of my socks, was another pair of panties. Pink. With a little bow, right in front.

I had to smile wistfully as I turned them over, thinking about the last time this happened. It had been a year since the famous “panty pandemonium” with my ex-girlfriend. Since then the landlord had installed new, energy efficient machines. They used less water — using energy to make up for it. The rinse cycle spun so hard in these new machines it seemed at times like they were trying to launch themselves to Kennedy Airport.

One unintended effect, though, was that small pieces of clothing would get pinned inside the washer’s drum even more frequently — upside down, on the side — and unless you carefully rotated and scraped the dryer drum you’d lose things. Like underwear, and socks.

I was about to toss the panties when I saw the tag: La Perla.

Now, I’m not a guy with a fetish or anything — but I’ve bought women some nice tidbits over the years, and learned a thing or two along the way.

La Perla.

If you’ve never seen a woman in La Perla underwear, well, you should, at least once before you die. No matter your preference, or your gender: Male, female, straight, gay, trans, it doesn’t matter. Take a look online, just for a moment: The La Perla designers make lingerie like Michelangelo made sculptures. Works of art. Turning whoever is wearing it into a gift-wrapped object of desire.

So somebody in my building had really good taste, and had accidentally left a pair of their La Perla panties in a machine. These panties probably went for at least $150, and it seemed a shame to just throw them away.

But that wasn’t my only option.

There’s a small folding table downstairs in the laundry room, tucked in a corner, and a little box on it where people leave the odd sock and thing — sort of a lost and found box. I figured I’d take the panties down and leave them in the box.

The elevator lowered me to the basement, and with a dull “DING” deposited me in the subbasement. I walked off the elevator and turned into the large laundry room, with its rows of gleaming machines. It was still early and quiet — but the “quiet” part was about to end, violently.

“EWWW. WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH MY UNDERWEAR?”

It was almost like I was slapped by the assault. She was standing there, hands on her hips, eyes wide open, in a ratty pair of sweatpants and hoodie. She was tall, nearly six feet, brown hair tied up in a bun, and heavy set — probably what somebody would have called “big boned” with a deep chest and wide soft hips. Sexy like a Botero sculpture, broad sloping curves everywhere. Honestly, I wouldn’t have made her for a La Perla customer — but then again, who knows what women are wearing underneath it all? Its Victoria’s secret, right?

“I’m just bringing them back.”

“Bringing them BACK? You creep! ‘Back’ from what? No, no, wait, I don’t want to know.”

“No no no no no. Would you give me a minute to explain?”

She glared at me, and I was really glad there was no one else in the laundry room.

“They must have gotten stuck in the dryer, or the washer. I just finished doing my laundry, and found them stuck to a t-shirt. Here’ they’re still warm.”

She widened her eyes. “Oh god, you are bringing me my panties and telling me they are still WARM? REALLY??”

“Warm from THE DRYER.”

She reached over and took them, snatching them out of my hand, glaring at me like I had cholera.

“Great, thanks.”

“Look, if I was some kind of weirdo who stole women’s underwear, why would I bring them back to the lost and found box? Huh?”

She softened, a bit, for a second. “I don’t even want to think about that. Who knows?”

“Nooooo, the simple fact is they looked expensive, and I thought it was important to bring them back to their original owner.”

“Yeah, well, they are expensive. They were.”

“I know.” Wrong thing to say.

“So you DO have some kind of thing for women’s underwear!”

“No! Well, yes. Wait, it’s like this.”

By this point she had folded bahis siteleri her arms, was tapping her foot, and I couldn’t tell if she had half a smile on her face, or a half a scowl.

“I’ve bought lingerie for my girlfriend. She had expensive tastes. But I will say — those La Perla people, they really seem to like what they do. And do it well.” My face felt flush, and I am sure it was beet red.

“Mind if I ask your girlfriend about that? What’s her name? Maybe she and I can chat about your taste in women’s underwear and compare notes.” She seemed to be enjoying watching me squirm.

“Well, you could, but that might not go well. She’s not my girlfriend anymore.”

I heard her mutter under her breath. “Figures.”

“Excuse me?”

“Nothing.”

“No, wait a minute.”

I wasn’t into taking any more abuse, especially before the day had even gotten started.

“Don’t be such a bitch” I said, evenly. “I could have just tossed them in the garbage. I come back down here on a Saturday morning when I should be enjoying my coffee and catching up on the news, and first you treat me like a pervert, and then you rag on me about my status. Nice to meet you too. Whatever. And hey, judging by those nice sweatpants, I’m surprised that you wear any underwear, let alone La Perla. I would have guessed a nice pair of granny panties.”

I turned to leave, and in the mirror in the corner of the room I could see her behind me, hands on her hips, panties wadded in a bunch, her eyes following me as I left, her mouth open, as if she wanted to say something but wasn’t sure what.

It wasn’t until I had dinner that night, and a couple of glasses of wine, that I shook off my frustration over that encounter.

Monday came too soon, it always did, blurring into Tuesday and Wednesday. I was back behind the desk, caught up in twelve hour days and endless piles of stuff to do. Thursday night I worked all day, and then had a business dinner that kept me out until ten. I returned to the apartment building, collected my mail, and stepped into the elevator as I absent-mindedly shuffled through bills and catalogues.

Just as the elevator doors were closing a hand popped in, one tipped with bright red fingernails, making the elevator doors reopen. Like a parting curtain the doors slid back to reveal her, standing there waiting. No sweats and slippers tonight — instead, a lovely, form-fitting dress, a small back clutch bag, and heels.

“Oh hi” she said as she stepped into the elevator. I could smell a trace of her perfume trailing, on the breeze she created. “Long day for you too?”

“Yeah” I said, “can’t wait until the weekend when I can do something easy, like my laundry.” She smiled, which I thought might have been a neighborly peace offering.

“You know,” she said, “If you were dressed like that — in a nice suit — I probably would have had a different reaction when you brought back my clothing. Which, I will admit, was nice of you.”

The elevator was stopping at my floor. “Don’t worry about it. I can totally understand that, more or less, anyway. Then again, I see that you’re not wearing your laundry clothes either, so I take back those things I said about, umm, you know, granny panties.” We had arrived at my floor and the doors opened. “Have a good night” I said, as I stepped out.

I expected her to say the same. You know, this is where she would have said something like “Yes, you too.” Not.

“The best thing,” she said, in a half whisper as the doors closed, “was that when I put them on this morning I was reminded how well they fit. Good lingerie does that.”

I almost lost my nose. Without realizing it, I had leaned in to hear her, and the doors closed with her final words right in front of my face.

It was hard to sleep that night, because I was hard for hours thinking about her, wearing her La Perla.

Saturday came quickly, laundry day again.

I was getting off the elevator with my laundry bag, and turning into the room full of washers and dryers when I saw her, bent over her laundry basket, sorting her things, the whites in one pile, the other stuff in another, and tossing things through the front door of one of the low washers. No ratty sweats this morning.

Instead, she was wearing a pair of skin-tight yoga pants, under which I could make out the outline of her panties. It was hard to tell, but I thought I recognized the pattern of the lace. I didn’t want to just stand there, staring at her rear as she bent over her laundry, so I gave up trying to guess and walked into the room.

She saw me in the overhead mirror, and stood up and turned around.

“I thought that was you. Joining me?”

I was a bit wary, wondering if this was a set up. “Seriously?”

“Listen, last week you caught me before I had my coffee, my roommate and I aren’t getting along, and you just showed up at the wrong time. Can we start again? Hi, I’m Sara.” She extended her hand.

I dropped my stuff on a table. “Nice to meet you Sara, I’m Bill.” Her hand was warm bahis şirketleri and soft against my old callouses.

I started sorting out my things and we gradually began to chit-chat, the usual kind of idle banter — how long we’d lived in the building, where we worked, and then she came around again to our encounter last week. By this time we had both finished loading the machines, and were each leaning against different washers that were chugging away like small diesel generators.

“You were right, you know?” she said. “Those panties really were expensive. I bought them myself.”

“I’m surprised they weren’t a gift — that’s a classic, you know, ‘lingerie for your girlfriend’? Like right after a fight, or on an anniversary, or to recharge your sex life. In fact, I’m sure that there are hundreds of clueless men shopping online for their wives right now. They will get distracted by the models, run out of time, and then quickly pick something that is uncomfortable, impractical, and doesn’t fit — in a hideous color. It will be worn once, maybe, and then end up at the bottom of an underwear drawer.”

She laughed. “Sounds like you’ve been reprimanded for buying ridiculous underwear for somebody.”

“Well, now that you mention it…it was a stocking stuffer for my ex-wife on our first Christmas. Her exact reaction was ‘what on earth is that thing’?”

“Actually” she said, “that’s how I got started with La Perla. An old boyfriend bought me my first La Perla set. He used to pester me to wear it all the time. I thought that was really hot at first, but then it just started to bug me. After we broke up I realized I liked wearing it just for me, not for him, or for anyone else. It made me feel, I don’t know, sexy in a way, and I needed that after he left.”

There was no other sound except the vibrating washing machines, chugging and gurgling alongside us. I could feel the machine vibrating under my ass.

“I read something like that once. It said ‘American women wear nice lingerie to please others. French women wear nice lingerie to please themselves.’ Do you think there’s any truth to that?”

She reached into her laundry basket as she nodded. “It took me a few years to understand that, but now I completely get it. Which is a good to remember, because all this frilly stuff can be a bit of a hassle – I have to wash them all separately — with mild soap and on the ‘Gentle’ setting.”

As she was talking she held up a pale blue bra, with cups made of translucent lace. She stretched it in front of her, across her soft, ample chest, as if she were trying it on over her shirt and checking the fit. “So yes, I’d wear something like this when I wanted to feel…good.”

She was looking at me as she held it against her body for another moment, before folding it carefully, one cup into another, and put it in the pile of “Delicates” that she was separating, and I thought that the small bumps of her nipples were more visible than they had been a moment ago.

I would guess that she knew exactly what she was doing — but at that moment it was utterly, completely impossible not to imagine her wearing that lace blue bra, and even better, to imagine her taking it off; it was impossible not to wonder what she was wearing under her t-shirt. I became acutely aware of the washing machine vibrating against my ass, and I felt my cock twitch. “Hello” from downstairs, my own sub-basement.

I wasn’t too sure what to say. The best I could muster was: “Is that blue one La Perla, too? That’s very nice.”

“No, I only have one other La Perla set — and I’m wearing it.”

I think I gulped.

She glanced down at my crotch, my shorts now displaying a growing bulge. “Maybe you’d like to see what I’m wearing?”

“Yeah, that would be…”

I let the words trail off as she walked over the door and turned the lock, twirled the rod on the venetian blinds to close them, and turned off the lights until the room was lit only by the soft glow of the digital read-outs on the washers and dryers.

She walked back to me, facing me, and pulled up her t-shirt over her gorgeous breasts, up over her head. “What do you think of this one?” she whispered, just over the hum of the machines. It was pink, the straps made from a shimmering satin, the cups made entirely from an intricate lace, and I could see her nipples and areolas through the lace, like targets waiting for a pair of lips. And her nipples were hard.

My cock was too, very hard. “I really like that on you. It looks like it fits you well too, just like you said in the elevator.”

“Yes, not a pucker, not a gap. I’ll show you.” She took my hand, and ran it along the edge of her lacy pink bra cup. “There’s not the tiniest gap, just the soft lace.” She squeezed her hand around mine so that my hand squeezed her breast, soft, full, heavy, and so very warm through the lace. When she sighed it was as if a soft breeze passed over my cock, and I felt myself throbbing with each beat of my heart.

“Is this part of a set?”

She released my hand and nodded. She stepped back and pushed down her yoga pants, like she was peeling the skin from a banana, pushed them down, stepped out of her sandals, and stood before me like a model. “Pink, like cotton candy” I said. “But sweeter.”

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