In the Bath

There are two bathrooms in my house, the one downstairs which has the shower that the dog sometimes uses, and the one outside my bedroom where the clawfoot tub lives.

It’s a grand old thing, and was in the house when I moved in: cast iron, painted white on the inside, purple on the out, gold legs and feet holding it aloft like the bed of some queen’s palanquin. There is no curtain as it is designed to only be used as a tub, with a faucet and handles in the middle of the tub rather than at the foot, and there is no shower head. The tub was put here for luxury and long, languid soaks, and not for a quick cleansing of the body.

The tub is longer than it looks, deeper as well. When I slide into the steaming hot water and stretch out, the iron walls recede into the distance, vanishing into the mist and my feet never touch them. When I slip beneath the water, I float down and down, until I can rest against the sandy bottom below. The light is warm and soft, like a sunset, and the colorful fish dance and swirl around me. Sometimes I look up and see the wooden hull of an ancient ship gliding by above me, perhaps full of jewels and plunder from the New World. Once I found an underwater cave, and I swam through it until it opened up into a submerged cavern where a small locked oaken chest was hidden. I brought it with me when I got out of the tub and put it, unopened, in the living room. I’m hoping to some day find the key to it, perhaps in another cave, perhaps in the mouth of a fish swimming by me as I bathe.

Bez doesn’t care for the tub. She complains that it is cramped and the metal takes too long to warm up under her bottom and that she can’t get all the shampoo out of her hair without using a shower head.

Sometimes I will get into the tub and sit behind her, then cover her eyes with my hands and tell her to lean back against me. She doesn’t complain about the tub anymore after that.

She isn’t as open to simple pleasures as I am.

But she is learning.

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4 Comments

  1. Do you ever stop and roll a word around in your mouth, touch all its curves and planes with your tongue, and then realize you’ve completely forgotten what you were reading?

    I don’t either.

    Palanquin. You are marvelous.

    Reply
  2. When we moved here, there was an old cast iron bathtub on claw feet in the master bath. Guess what? It was white inside and painted purple outside! But its feet were white, and dangerously wonky. Inside it, when I submerged, I could hear the house breathing and muttering.

    Now, I have a new fiberglass version, claw feet and all, but it doesn’t have those eerie echoes…

    Reply
    • Kameko

       /  January 25, 2012

      I like the whispers I get when I’m in mine. It feels like being in a Hitchcock film, only without all the murder going on.

      At least, no murder yet.

      Reply

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