Quite often when I went down to the washing room, the cotton lined wicker basket was standing in front of the machine in the corner by the drain; sometimes it stood there for days on end with the same load untouched inside.
I had never seen the machine's owner, although I had started to build up a picture of the person through looking at the washing swirling around through the glass door, I assumed it was a single woman as you could see frothy underwear, and no dull dark boxer shorts and the like.
Her underwear was a tangle of coloured bra straps, pinks, greens, reds and blacks; exotic colours and with matching scraps of knickers too; my underwear was plain, white or that dirty peach colour often called flesh, whereas my skin colour was closer to that of white washing that has greyed with age.
Today when I looked the red bed-linen was in there, robins and tomatoes swirling around and I pictured the petite dark haired girl that would lie in it, brown strands whorled across the pillow, hazel eyes peeping through the hair as if challenging me; although I think I preferred the greenish turquoise set, reminiscent of blonde-tressed mermaids and silver slivers of scales.
Footsteps echoed on the marble tiled staircase above and I quickly retreated to the storage cellars beyond the laundry room so as not to have to my imagination impaired by the sight of another ordinary person.
I wondered if that person ever wondered about my washing; the mystery of the fading rusty stains on my overalls.