Kelly sits on a couch as if she’s talking to a therapist.
That first time I tried, I sat on the floor of the bathroom with a razor in my hand. It was the razor I used to shave my legs in the shower. My mother had given it to me for Christmas—a fancy pink one with some kind of triple action blade I always forgot to replace.
Of course, that didn’t work. Do you even know what the triple action is for?
I got up, pushed away the cat and went to the garage junk drawer where I found a box cutter. To be truthful, I hadn’t really touched a box cutter since 9/11. I know that seems ridiculous. It’s been oh so many years and I didn’t even know no anyone involved. I’m not even particularly patriotic.
Can I say that here?
I’d always wanted to be a cutter. Someone who could displace emotional pain with the tangible pain of a bleeding gash. The ideas of scars didn’t bother me. My husband and I had long since given up sex, let alone sex in the light. Even on those rare nights he rolled over and fondled my right breast, his overture for sex, I figured his discovery would enliven our sex life. Eventually.
After the horror, I suppose.
So I got the box cutter from that drawer my husband refused to organize. That’s why it was in the garage rather than the house. I took it to the bathroom and closed the door. The cat’s paw came under the door and she meowed. Usually I’d let her in. She liked to sit on my lap while I peed. But I ignored her. I sat on the edge of the tub.
Another aside. Is it okay to just go from one thing to the next like this? I hope so. You probably think I’m crazy or something. Anyhoo. I hate that too, I don’t know why I said that. Makes me feel like some middle-aged suburban overweight yokel. That one word—anyhoo—and I think of that fat woman on TV who always plays the annoyingly nosy neighbor.
So anyway. That tub. It’s one of those Jacuzzi tubs that came with the house. It wasn’t even an option. I wish the sunroom or the kitchen island had just come with the house. But my husband and daughters just loved the idea of a Jacuzzi. We had seen so many houses—the Heights, the Plains, Wine Estates, you name it. This one had the master bathroom of all bathrooms. It was really the only difference I could see. This bathroom had a built-in couch and a double shower with four shower heads, as if the developers wanted me to throw a key party like it was the 70s and we didn’t have two kids still sleeping in our bed.
So. It’s this Jacuzzi 4000 with a huge picture window overlooking the forest they are going to clearcut for another development. That’s what I told my husband. But he’d have none of it. He got in the tub fully clothed and pulled my daughters in. They giggled. They talked of champagne.
My daughters are 10 and 7.
Now we’ve lived here for four years and you know what they do? They wash the dog in it. My husband took one bath when he hurt his back playing tennis. We chose this house instead of the house with the covered porch because of this tub.
The dog is very happy.
I hate baths. Aren’t women supposed to love baths? Calgon take me away and all? But I hate them. Don’t all women? Every time I take a bath, forget that the water is first too hot and then immediately too cold, forget that you are lying in your own filth, forget that you usually have to clean the tub before you get in the tub, let’s just really say why all women should hate it.
Water in the (she points to her vagina).
One time, a long time ago—my last bath, in fact—I sat in a tub because I thought it would relax me. I thought I was the very picture of a young, hip woman who takes baths to relax. I lit candles, played music, the whole bit. And then, with my skin both supple and wrinkled, I went to meet friends. I lived in the city then, my life was all Sex and the City. Ha! I was getting off the metro and walking down Connecticut Avenue when—
There’s no other way to put it. A gush of water so utterly fast and complete and sopping. I stooped as if to tie my shoes—I don’t even think my shoes had laces—and there was the spreading stain of tub water all over my light beige pants.
Cargo pants were in that year.
I didn’t know it then, but it was worse than your water breaking. Of course because at least then, everyone knows you’re having a baby. I don’t know if anyone saw, but I looked like I wet my pants. I know, I didn’t smell of urine. I know, we’re all human. But really.
It’s like when I saw a man have diarrhea on the bus. It’s human, but really. Last time I ever took a bus.
But can I tell you that not only have I never taken a bath again, I mean who would? But now I have to think about how much water can fit up there. I probably have body image issues. I know I do. You should probably write that down. But that’s not part of this story.
Stay tuned. . .