Our washing machine is old and erratic and seems to be leaking from the back. I drag the heavy white box out from under the worktop. I think I can see the problem. After unplugging, I unscrew the back of the machine and experiment with one of the hoses. By pushing and tightening Jubilee Clips and pipes I think I have improved the situation.
I want to test its new state. I plug the washing machine in and it grumbles its way back to life. The solenoid clicks out and the sound of sluicing water can be heard as the drum starts to fill. I watch the systems throb and grind through the open back of the machine. There is still a tiny leak dribbling down one of the pipes. Wanting to trace the source, I instinctively put out my finger and touch the pipe.
Outside I can hear the neighbours and a pigeon. A cat passes me on the floor. In the next room I can hear the bubbling of the fish tank. I float through the house like a grey ghost. I find Bernadette in her studio but she hasn’t noticed me enter. There is a gash on my wrist where the electric shock jammed my arm into the metal casing. Moments pass. I stand looking at her back and I can think of nothing to say.