• Vol. 01
  • Chapter 10

Bathroom Habits

Owen wants to paint the bathroom blue. He says it’s calming. I try to persuade him that he doesn’t need a different toothbrush for each day of the week but he thinks it’s more hygienic, and besides, he’s always done it. I don’t want another fight. We’re on a six month trial. Owen moved in to mine because the lease on his flat was coming to an end; it was the logical thing to do, he said.

I prefer sunshine yellow, and towels that have been tumble dried, not hung out until they become rigid and rough. I like bubble bath and wooden loo seats and flowers in a vase on the bath side. The pollen makes Owen sneeze, but he says he’ll cope with the upset to his allergies to keep me happy. And it does make me happy, this concern for my well-being, until the exaggerated nose-blowing disturbs my joy. He throws out the flowers and installs an air freshener that squirts out floral glade every time I get within two feet of the loo.

Owen brings flowers home on our six month deadline, and says it’ll be fine so long as they remain in the hall. He takes me to our favourite restaurant, and we celebrate.

I wake up in the early hours, my stomach churning. I recall how Thai food never did agree with me, and I cramp over the loo while floral glade bursts like gunfire from the wall. The disorientation of sickness makes the room spin, and as I stand and gaze into the mirror, I barely recognise the place or person, swathed in a background hue of blue.