Laundry Mountain: A Flash Memoir

This was a freewriting exercise I did in my first grad-school class of winter quarter. I liked how it turned out, so I figured I'd share it with all of you:

Chewie’s breath smells like butt. But I don’t think butt has to be a bad thing. My mom always said her favorite smell was puppy breath, which I’ve come to find is an objectively bad smell,  but I’ve also found that "bad" is not objective. Chewie’s breath smells like butt because he licks his butt, because he’s a dog--and I think if anything is objectively GOOD, it’s dogs.

If I can smell Chewie’s breath, it means his mouth is close to my nose, which means I’m probably staring into his chocolate-and-chestnut marbled eyes. I’ve been told dogs make eye contact solely for humans’ sakes, since they don’t use eye contact when communicating with each other. They just developed that skill to make humans more comfortable, which proves they’re capable of empathy.
My bedroom is a haven of T-shirt quilts, unfinished oil paintings, and my crowning achievement, Laundry Mountain. Chewie has braved Laundry Mountain many nights when it was too warm to sleep in his favorite spot, wedged between me and Tyler on the bed, letting out startled barks in the middle of the night to pretend he doesn’t secretly like it when one of us rolls on him in our sleep. But in the summer, Chewie climbs Laundry Mountain and curls himself on top of unwashed sweatpants, sweat-stained college marching band T-shirts, about twenty pairs of socks I’ll swear on my life are still clean because I’ve only worn them once since their last wash, and the one pair of jeans I wear every day but never wash because who washes jeans?
But Chewie likes the smell of Laundry Mountain. It smells like humans, and Chewie likes humans. He likes us enough to feel safe staring into our eyes, to feel content spending Sunday afternoons lying on our stomachs in a staring contest on my bed, me breathing in his breath that smells like butt, and him breathing in my breath that smells like coffee, which, from a dog’s perspective, isn’t any better.


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