She reached up in the repetitive task, clothespin to cloth, cloth next to cloth, clothespin to cloth, down the line. One by one she lined up the shirts, the t-shirts, the ones with collars, then the boxers from prints to blue, then her undies by hue from pink to black. It was their special private joke, their underwear touching on the line where they never would in real life. She layered the pillowcases and sheets because they took up so much line. As carefully as any devoted wife, she redid the shirts, smoothed the fabric, arranged the collar and cuffs. Ironing would not be possible in this heat. Someday they would be able to afford dropping them off at the lavandería again. She preferred to do her own, as the Mexican detergents were harsh and faded the colors quickly and the girls didn’t wash in the gentle cycle as she always did. She had shirts that were fifteen years old and skirts bought second hand that still looked new. The task of hanging laundry had to be done right after coffee before the sun hit the balcony, depleting her energy and making the tiles too hot to cross, the scorching heat rising up and sweat dripping down her sides. Dried and taken down before the sun bleached out the colors, before the first trip to town and the cool fruit drink of mango and papaya and orange, before the smothering humidity made the streets an inferno. She pinned and arranged while the blare of the gas man’s horn rose up from the street and the water man’s strange grating melody announced he was ready to carry water up the three flights of narrow steep steps. The grinding sound of the tortilleria on the corner, the sounds of salsa from the neighbor below. While she pushed all doubts to the side and accepted home keeping tasks as hers. While she poured love through her fingertips onto clothespins. While the scallop lace of the heat shredded and blew and the man she loved was ready to take her into town, while she waited to see if he had noticed.