This article is taken from Stand 229, 19(1) March - May 2021.

Miriam Balanescu The Window Cleaner
Getting fired has its perks. Less awkward run-ins. Not badly located now either. Take, for instance, one Wednesday: 8:30 – me, the guys, and the ladders get a lift in Radu’s van. We pass Craig’s lot. They’re trying out their abseiling equipment, and they look like bugs on webs with not enough legs. 9:11 – a late start. Through my first window I spot Mrs. Linley soapy, hairnet on, in the shower. 10:45 – Jordan with the pointy nose is blasting out Rachmaninov’s second piano concerto. 13:01 – BLT for lunch. 3:26 – Mr. Apelmann has chosen wallpaper instead of his wife. Flopped on a Liberty sheet, she told me that if he didn’t strip the walls it would be the end. Nice lady that. A shame. 4:10 – as I go around the corner I catch somebody practising Liszt, notes trailing like wisps from a cigarette. For a second and then I’m on the next street. Lines of trees seem to have breathed fire from the soil. My shift is over.

Belgravia did pay better than Marylebone. None of us know how to say Marylebone out loud either. But it’s the same either way – crammed into vans and shipped from north and south to attend to the needs of those with heavy pockets. It’s a bind, because we’ve got our own pockets to fill. Right now, we’re working on a parade of red-brick houses, the Montagu Mansions. Most women here are married. Doesn’t bother me. Doesn’t seem to bother them either.

Mama and my aunties always ...
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