Permanently Pressed

Peggy got up every morning at five to fix Bobby’s breakfast and iron his work clothes. She stood behind the ironing board looking out the window, dreaming about the men she saw on the TV the night before. Every few moments she let the iron rest in order to build up the steam that provided the magic puffs that set the creases permanently into the legs of his uniform pants. The radio played on the windowsill, a Ray Charles song. 

Born to lose, I've lived my life in vain.

As the iron rested, Peggy twisted the small, diamond ring on her left hand, as if it might be tight. Bobby leaned out of the bathroom in his boxer shorts, shaving cream on his face and an unfiltered cigarette stuck to his lip.

"Did you make any coffee?"  He called out, the cigarette flapping up and down.  Peggy sighed,

"No, I'm ironing your pants."

She thought she had loved him once, but that was so long ago. Peggy wished she could be a better housewife and have Bobby's uniforms ready and all, but she really hated ironing, and the afternoons were so warm that they made her sleepy. Peggy twisted the ring around her finger.  

"Is there any coffee left in the pot or did you boil it dry?"  The smell of burned coffee wafted throughout the house.  Peggy pulled up her apron and used it as a potholder to pour a cup of coffee. 

Bobby left for work and Peggy sat in a chair smoking his cigarette butts staring at the picture of Hawaii on the kitchen calendar, twisting the ring, she sat there daydreaming about places she had never been to keep from getting blue.

photo supplied by the author

photo supplied by the author

- Nicole Chakalis is an MFA alum in Creative Writing from Columbia College Chicago. She studied at the University of Havana and received the Sylvia McNair Award for Travel Writing. Nicole was the recipient of a fellowship at the Ragdale Artists Residence and the featured reader at 2nd Story during Story Week 2014.