By Martin Brick
Seems odd, and admittedly creepy, how on our second date he rhapsodized about the sublimity of his morning shower. It would have made a sensible girl nervous, his celebration of the warmth, of the sinus-opening power of the soap and steam, and even the sound of the curtain on the rod. His pulse raced and you had to wonder, is this guy having maybe too good of a time? But foolish me found something infectious in his lively character and found him shaking me awake for a shower at 6:30 a.m. There was a smile on his face as he tore open a new package of Zest. The water ran for a few minutes before he stepped in. The mirror had long since yielded its reflective powers to the steam. His tub was an old clawfoot with a curtain all the way around. A bit unexpected. Given his enthusiasm, I expected something more modern, like a standing-room-only shower, small to keep the heat it in, with a glass door and a high-tech shower head with hundreds of settings. This was quaint. His actions also surprised. This was not just a new venue for groping and petting. He took my hand as I stepped over the edge of this porcelain boat, like a gentleman aiding a lady’s step into an automobile. Felt like a ridiculous act to me, to do nude. But touching. And he let me stand by the water. Turned me around, the water contacted just above my sternum, making divergent paths around both breasts. His fingers massaged shampoo into my scalp, feeling utterly unlike my own fingers in their morning ritual. Yet neither was it like his fingers on my body the night before.He threw open the window curtain and his bathroom flooded with sunlight. His chrome was extra chromey. His tub was extra white and egg-like. I could see texture I’d never seen anywhere else before. The surface of the porcelain had a geography. But when we stepped out, the light was particularly inviting, even given the off-chance that a neighbor would notice our naked bodies through the window. He is so much like a child. He almost believes he has discovered this first. There a conviction as if you’ve never seen a shower before. As if it’s something new and he just has to share. Like the child who discovers a hiding place outside or a new song, bubbling that joy onto his mother. Same with the sunlight. Like it’s his. Like he’s giving me a new gift.
I buy it.
We lay down towels and lie on the bathroom floor. I try desperately to describe the color of the light. It’s white, but slightly blue. Not chalky. Crisper. Not cyan. That’s too cool. Like vodka light. But more uplifting. Not so abrasive. Linen-sheets-on-a-clothesline-white.
Perhaps. We fall asleep on the bathroom floor. I find I’m smiling when I awake.