To push through the heavy glass door of the laundromat, warm and moist and thrummy as underwater, into the winter air is to be born again, the same gulping reflex. She does not cry, just hurries along the patchy sidewalk, past the bodega-slash-taqueria, down the 6th Street grade toward the coast highway, canvas bag over her shoulder. The houses are ragged, perched uncertainly on small lots. Her scalp itches under an acrylic ski hat.
Fort Bragg is that kind of town, not far from Frisco but closer to Coos Bay or Aberdeen by the looks of it. They don’t like you to say to Frisco but she doesn’t care. Sometimes she walks aimlessly for hours, hands jammed in her front pockets. Her jeans are looser this year, held up by a braided hemp rope. Her old boyfriend said she was hipless as a snake. He was a classic inland dumbfuck from a place called Leggett Hill. He talked her into a three-way in the back bedroom with a bleached blonde with big floppy tits after a long night of drinking, which left her feeling hung over and inadequate. She quit him, and tequila, cold turkey the next morning after throwing up in the kitchen sink.
Thank God she wasn’t pregnant. Lots of erotica writers are, you know. No one knows why, and she doesn’t want to find out.