• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 07
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An Eulogy to Simplicity

Infant limbs obstinate – an inherent reluctance to allow the cold in – sensations from the past contrasting with the enveloping ease of the present. Now, two steps, dial, shower head, quick flip of a shampoo bottle, plop plop drops – more struggles of nursery nonsense – and none of the ritual of before. Ritual had meant celebration, elaboration, but now she was in-out, stripped and dipped.
The noise of the water had alerted her to the chasm of time that had passed between then and now. Rather than an easy swooping, water lolloping towards toddler toes like an overweight, over-eager rabbit, water thudded from the shower head. She occasionally liked to imagine that the fall of water was uncontrollable, craving the vulnerability that standing naked in a communal, unlocked bathroom didn’t quite achieve. It was as if she wanted her blood running in rivulets along the grouting, the Psycho scream indelible in the patterns of the shower curtain. A lament to the lost moments on her mother’s knee, an eulogy to its simplicity.
But modern life and Facebook had got in the way and those sacrosanct maternal movements had collapsed. She now tagged her mother in comments and cooking videos, neither looking up from the Midas mine of information.
A radiator-warmed towel could never replicate that of her mother. Mr Right had become Mr Muscle (‘advanced power bathroom and toilet cleaner’) in a bleach-clean purge of skin and soul. She slipped whilst shaving, nerves and cells on a razor edge.
Leaving the bathroom, she gingerly picked away the long hairs that had become entangled in her toes, a grimace on her face.
The bowl was now in her kitchen, lined with a microscopic layer of dust and hair and grease. She thought of offering it back to her mother, perhaps with roses in it, but decided against it. Her mother had developed hay fever now, allergic to pollen and people and porcelain fragments from the past.