Just Cleaning Up


"A clean up woman is a woman who, gets all the love we girls leave behind. The reason I know, so much about her, is because she picked up a man of mine," Betty Wright belts out early in the morning. Too early for a Saturday. I try to cover my head with a pillow to drown it out. I just want to sleep more but it isn't happening.

"C'mon get up, you know what time it is," my mom says swinging my door open. It would be comical if I wasn't so tired.

I slowly sit up in bed not ready for this at all. She pulls me by the arm and leads me to the house. She's already got my sister working on the kitchen. She gives me a choice I can either take the living room. Bad choice, lots of knick knack. Lots of stuff nobody will ever look at. I could take the dining room. Lot of glass cleaning. As long as theirs no streaks, I can make it out easy.

"I'll take the dining room," I mumble.

"Put some pep in your step," she says tossing me a rag, "just cleaning up, just cleaning up," she says singing away.

I hate this song. She can't even play the regular version. Always the 15 minute long medley version. Betty Wright, the sound of cleaning for generations past, present and future. Getting to work on the table. I hate cleaning the table it's big and awkward. Are glass dining tables still in style? We should just get TV trays and sit them in here with folding chairs. Low maintenance.

It seems like hours pass. I thought I was just doing the dining room. Somehow I got roped into mowing the lawn as well. Finally it has to come to an end. The sun is setting. She can't possibly have much more for me. I roll the lawnmower to the backyard. Padlocking it around the tree in the back of the yard and covering it with a tarp. Gotta make sure it doesn't get stolen like the last one. I roll the trash bins in front of it to fully hide it from view before heading inside.

"I know you not gonna walk those shoes with all the grass on them across this floor," mom says from somewhere out of sight. I don't even think she was around. She's invaded my mind with subliminal messaging for cleaning. I leave my shoes in back and drag myself towards my room.

I don't even bother taking a seat. I just fall to the floor like I've been drinking too much. Exhausted from a day of cleaning. This has to break some kind of labor laws. I can't take much more of this. I hope she just lets me die in silence.

"I know you ain't sleep, do a little work and act like I tried to kill you," mom chimes in. Maybe if I don't move she won't see me. "What you want from Subway?"

At least she pays her workers.
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