I have to come out from under the cover of all the characters I’ve made these past five months. I’m moving to Toronto this week and as I type this on the couch in the living room there’s a wall of boxes where there once was a view onto the street. This computer will go into the last empty box and then you won’t hear from me for a couple days. My family will be sailing across Canada. (Okay this is the part where I just make shit up…) Yeah, there’s a large tank of water that is hauled behind the caboose of the CN and we’ve rented a small boat which will be floating in that tank. It’s a tiny sailing boat but it’s sea-worthy… tank-worthy. We’re told. I got insurance just in case it sinks. I hope it’s okay if there are any problems I can swim and I’ll be sure to wrap my children up in life-jackets at all times. (Okay that’s the end of the line of the lie.)

    Yeah, so you won’t hear from me for a couple days so enjoy some of the previous stories…

 

A Strangeness Sings

 

  He plops himself into the half empty tub with a splash that reaches a foot up the wall. He closes his eyes and lets the touch of the water line take over. It inches up his torso and legs. It tickles with warmth. The rush of the water into the tub drowns out his neighbors’ bathrooms upstairs and downstairs. Everybody in the building is cleaning themselves this Sunday afternoon. A community event.

   The water line tickles his neck like a chinstrap. How high can it climb? He shimmies his body back and forth in a stationary position, enjoying the warmth. The water is now up to his lip but it won’t overflow because of the drain. The rushing sound continues to pour in. 

    Upstairs he hears feet race out of the bathroom and then back into the bathroom. A game? Downstairs, no sound. His body starts to float and he paddles a little to keep his lips above water. He opens his eyes but the water is still a good six inches below the top of the tub. He watches the rush of water falling into the tub but as the water level doesn’t seem to be climbing anymore it looks more like a tower. A frozen and fluctuating tower. He wonders if his tub is broken as his body starts to slide into a vertical position until he’s standing with his lip just above the water. There’s no relaxation in standing in a tub, this is like taking a full body shower. This is like Monday morning. He considers getting out but then he starts to float and is lulled into relaxation again. 

    His arms and legs reach out wider than the tub. It feels good to stretch but his right leg bumps into something below. The bath bubbles conceal the depths. He takes a deep breath and then submerges. He reverses himself top to bottom and then swims down to investigate. There’s a round object on the bottom of the tub and other vague colored images. He pulls the water back with both arms and arrives at the bottom in seconds but there’s nothing. It’s transparent though and he can see his neighbor in her tub, clothed behind bubbles. He looks side to side but there’s no one else in his tub. Of course there’s no one. He blushes but stays. 

   She opens her mouth to sing while a fin flaps out from the bottom of her tub. It’s true. He’s never seen her legs before. Her lower body is always wrapped in blankets to the bottom of her wheelchair. So there’s a giant fin down there. The water and the warmth recede as her voice takes over.  Her eyes remain closed. The bottom of his tub descends like an elevator. How will he explain this to her if she opens her eyes? He feels a pinch at his toe and he releases the oxygen in his mouth. He swims up while he pulls a crab-toy from his toe. His head emerges from the tub and he turns off the water. He hears the singing downstairs while he examines the ragged claws of the crab. 

   Some line from a poem is on the tip of his tongue.

 


 

Advertisements