- Vol. 04
- Chapter 03
Image by Manon Bellet
Ordinary BluesIt might be called “rockpool” or “speedwell” or “sailing boat”, but it’s always the same blue, and it’s always for the same thing. A million damp bathrooms containing dust-scented candles, cream ceramic lettering spelling out the words “dream” or “love” or “breathe” (if you’re going to spell out things you need or like, why not “bumhole” or just “chips”?) and a blotchy woman crying in the bath.
Get over it, love. He wasn’t worth it, and you’ve got your kids to think about. That’s what she imagines people saying. If a small crowd burst into the bathroom right now, knocking the fluffy dressing gown and novelty sleep mask off the hook, that’s what would happen. They’d stand around or perch on the toilet, judging her. And she’d just sit there, naked, stretchmarked and crying, agreeing with them. Why wouldn’t she? They’re her people that she made up out of her own head.
The trouble with her, they tell her, is that she’s ordinary. Ordinary bathroom, ordinary life, ordinary little tragedy. Look at the state the kids have left this place in. Look at your cheap bubble bath, your pound shop indulgence. When was the last time you cleaned the floor tile under the scales? She reaches through them for the spare toilet roll so she can blow her nose. As she leans over she lets out a fart. No wonder he left her.
Ordinary BluesAs she begins to recover from this latest wave of sobs, something catches, and she starts laughing. The imaginary crowd makes a perturbed humming noise. She pictures them all helping her paint the bathroom orange, no, lime green, no, violet, and the humming grows louder. Then she changes her mind again, and the humming stops.
She likes “sailing boat”. That’s why she chose it. She likes her dusty reminder to “love”, even though she doesn’t need it. She likes the biscuit factory scent of her off-brand bath foam. She likes being ordinary. She doesn’t like being single, but she doesn’t mind it, at least she can have a bath without anyone moaning about the cost of hot water (which she pays for).
Sometimes, ordinary is good enough. No. ALL the time, ordinary is good enough. Nearly everyone is ordinary, and she’s happy about that. Remember, she tells her imaginary onlookers, all my teen years when you nagged me and nagged me about not being normal? Well I made it. I’m normal now. So let me enjoy it.
And the unkind chorus evaporates and drips like condensation off the mirror.