• Vol. 01
  • Chapter 04
Image by

Bath Time

She had a power over you like water. You'd come and go with her tides and we would all float on her calmness and fear the violent crash of her storms.

The whip of her tongue was so sharp. Do you remember? The first time I heard her range, I felt the landing shake. The very house nervous at the sound. Shrill. And on, and on, until?

The noise would sting and send reverberations over the brickwork, unsettling water where ever it was. Trembling in the glass on the bedside table.

Do you remember how the water would only run ice cold or scalding hot? "Be careful" you'd say. Twisting the taps in the bathroom, we pale-skinned children, naked and tiptoeing, sometimes shaking, were forever anticipating extremes. A toe dipped in too soon.

You'd turn the knob from one side to another, trying always to get it right. Blending the hot-cold-hot liquid with a hand much older, much more resilient than our child flesh could tolerate. We'd worry about your skin blistering under too much heat and sliding off until there was nothing but bone.

I remember her mouth with spittle, like foam left behind by a wave. It would gather and grow and fly off and away. Disobediently leaving her as she hurtled off abuse.

Eyes slitted. And cruel mouth red and pink like meat.


Bath Time

She had a power over you. One that we couldn't extract. What is it they call it? Holy? Matrimony? When you looked at the foam and heard the waves break hard, splintering wood like a family tossed out to sea, what did you see? Do you remember?

On and on it went. On and on it goes. Until time and age takes away the detail. A residue on the tub. Something you can't quite put your finger on, like falling rain or a body of water that's forever moving the boundaries. And you've just got to keep afloat.

You no longer run us baths, we have children of our own, but let me, let us, run one for you. It's warm. And full. In it we've poured our love. It's overflowing. Deep. It'll keep you warm. It will keep you buoyant. And will cleanse you anew. The temperature, we promise, is just right.