This follows on from on yesterday’s post. The book will be written from several points of view; one of those belonging to Peter, Carol’s husband:
Carol’s in the bath again. I can’t exactly remember when this bath thing started, but it wasn’t all that long ago. Carol was always a shower girl and now, I don’t know why, she seems to be in the bath all the time. I can hear the steady drip-drip of the tap into the tub and can’t understand how this doesn’t drive her crazy. But that’s where we differ, where we’ve always differed. Carol is unencumbered by what I call the ‘finickies’, those small finicky things in life that I get all nit-picky over and she just shrugs off like they’re no bother at all. In-between admiring her for that, I seem to be in a constant state of agitation in readiness for the next dripping tap or squeaking door that I know won’t be silenced by anyone other than myself. Drip-drip Drip-drip. Drip-drip Drip-drip.
As I push open the door to the bathroom I am struck, as always, by her grace. She’s always had a litheness to her limbs that belies her age and to me she’s as beautiful as she was when I met her. Different to, but beautiful just the same. Her eyes are closed, book still propped up high in front of her face, giving her the appearance of a daydreaming student willing herself elsewhere, anywhere. My eyes follow the sweep of her breasts. Not follow. Absorb, gulp, crave. The curve of her waist is still small and the swell of her hips is round, rounder than it once was. Her thighs are so white they glow under the water and I can see the veins and the pockmarks snaking down one side. To me, a roadmap of our child, our lives, our history; to her, ugliness to be hidden, hated, denied.
Her eyes fly open as if she can feel me eyeing the one spot she wishes she could hide from the world. Her eyes are accusatory, pleading, hurt.
“What is it?”
She tried not to sound annoyed. She failed.
“I just wanted to turn the tap off properly.”
Her stare is so steely it cuts through the steam rising around me. She turns, twists the tap hard and rolls her body away from me just that little bit, her eyes turning back to her book. Now I can see the curve of her arse and in spite of (or maybe in defiance of) her rejection I feel the beginnings of a hard-on. Rather than my usual retreat, I stand my ground, afraid but unwilling to move. Thirty seconds. Drip. Sixty seconds. Drip. Drip. She turns her head slightly, not sure if I’m still here.
She fades away, not of sure where to go now. Most likely she wants me to evacuate immediately and is unsure of how to make this happen without sounding too hateful. When did she start hating me? It seems like forever, but in reality it’s not much more than a few years.
“Sorry, just looking Car, you’re so beautiful.” Have always, will always tell her this. Even knowing the rejection that follows cuts like a saber, I still do it. I retreat before the rent of the blade nicks my soul.