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  • “I can't just snap my fingers and fix this.” Her voice raised at least a couple of decibels in order to talk over her mother, who was still bemoaning (quite loudly) that she was still coming home to use the washer and dryer. It was either that or find the nearest laundromat in their dinky little nothing town. She gestured over to the dryer that had been spewing smoke not so long ago. “I didn't even do it, that's your laundry in there; you put it in there so stop blaming me.”
    “This sort of thing doesn't happen unless you're here.” It sounded more like a screech than anything and Sara cringed away for a moment, eyes closing and body tensing up like a wave was about to come crashing down on her. Maybe it was; she and her mother had their fair share of fights and none of them could be mistaken for loving bickering. Usually they had to storm away, slam doors or have someone interrupt in order to make for even a momentary departure of the tumultuous atmosphere. Sara's eyes opened and she dropped her gesturing hand to her side. She hadn't even gotten to take her boots or jacket off yet. She sighed and ducked her head, running the palms of her hands over her temples and forehead as if quelling an oncoming headache. Her fingertips dug into her blonde hair that was pulled up into a ponytail.
    “So what you're saying is that my proximity made this happen?” Her forced calm tone didn't do much at first, even as she glanced up, an exhausted expression on her face. Her mother tried to steamroll right by, as if what she'd said meant nothing, was just another step on their way up toward another argument.
    “Yes! That's exactly wha—” And right there, in the middle of the word something broke through her mom's stubborn blockade. Her mom deflated. “Oh honey, that's not what I meant.”
    Sara sort of grimaced and looked away, toward the dryer. Her arms crossed, she shifted her weight, she sighed. One hand slipped toward her back pocket and retrieved her cellphone. “I'll call someone, get them to come fix it.”
    Her mom nodded and then disappeared through the doorway. It was only after she'd hung up that she looked back up, blue eyes settling on her mom framed in the door frame holding two steaming mugs. “Tea?”
    “Hot chocolate.” Her mother answered, offering a mug to her. Sara curled her hands around it, letting the warmth spread through her skin and wiggle its way past her muscle to sink into her bones. She sipped it and gave her mother an appreciative glance.
    “Doesn't your apartment complex have a laundry room?” The venturing question made Sara roll her eyes.
    “It got flooded last year and they still haven't fixed it. So not really, no.” Her voice was roughened, probably due to the frustration she shoved deep down over the subject. Her mother hummed and leaned her shoulder into the door frame.
    “Your complex sucks. You should get a new one.” The absurdity of that statement made Sara choke on her mouthful of hot chocolate, swallowing it painfully.
    “Yeah, Mom, I'll do just that.”
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