A Story by squeeze

Mushy stuff. A couple reading poetry in the bath and having a lazy Sunday.

I woke up to her reading poetry aloud. She was in the bath, and from the bed I could hear a drop of water dribbling between her breasts. I lay there, in her bed for a few minutes, listened to her read one poem twice (she must have liked the way it felt in her mouth) although she hesitated in a one place for a split second longer than seemed like her.

I reclaimed myself from under the duvet and picked up her Japanese dressing gown from the floor. It was soft and light, but not silk. Red, with white petals and golden lutes printed on it. It made me feel like a geisha. I wondered how it made her feel.

The floor was linoleum, and I never liked the way the skin of bare feet peels off it with a noise like pulling a price label off a packet of meat. Slurping across towards the bathroom, I hesitated in the hallway. The bath was full and the steam was visible, coming off the water like confetti falling upwards. The only sound was of the water draining into the overflow. She had her back towards me, and didn’t turn around but lifted her arms straight up, holding the book she was reading from aloft, in a sort of salute. A Sunday morning welcome from someone from somewhere else.

I leant on the doorframe to the bathroom. Some fragrant scent filled the air. It was probably rose or jasmine �" something old and pretty, though I have not enough experience with things of that nature to be able to identify it. Her hair was pinned up haphazardly. The only thing she was wearing was a pair of pearl studs in the second piercings in her ear lobes.

I could see her whole body through the water �" there weren’t many bubbles, but one or two petals floating on the water. Scrunched up wrapping paper lay discarded by the toilet next to a little card that said “Happy Birthday! Pamper yourself! x” in loopy, girly writing with a circle, not a dot over the letter i.

She hadn’t read any more since the one she finished as I got up. I asked why she had stopped. She said she would rather talk with me than read, so I sat down on the toilet lid, facing her.

She had traces of some black make up; mascara or eyeliner, around her watery eyes, but apart from that she was pure. Her skin was almost milky. The water in the tub reflected the aqua paint on the walls, above the tiles. She flashed a grin and a good morning.

“Good morning” I replied.

“You rock that dressing gown.”

I re-adjusted it. There was no belt, so it was difficult to keep shut. After a second unsuccessful attempt, I let it fall open. There was no point hiding from her anyway - she would see me regardless.

She had let her hand fall over the edge of the bath, dangling the book open at a page I couldn’t make out.

“I liked the poems. Can you read another?”

She flicked through a few pages. Smirking at some, frowning at others. I wanted to know why, but didn’t ask. She was choosing for me. The word ‘choosing’ didn’t seem to have the right feeling for its meaning. Perhaps latin would suffice. She chooses - Quae elegit.

She read Sylvia Plath, and Christopher Marlowe. She said they were her two favourites that weren’t heart breaking in the book.

I asked her about the heart breaking one, and she read it to me. She was telling the truth. Like the past week and a half of always.

She dropped the book down the side of the bath and sunk down, the water up to her collar bones.

“You read. I like your voice, the way you speak.”

We were both strangers in this city. From opposite ends of the country, finding ourselves stuck somewhere in the middle. I guess its some sort of phenomena that I don’t know the name for that we had to cross paths eventually.

I leant forward and picked up the book, and though the cover was battered, saw from the inside it was printed in 2010. The bookcase in her bedroom was full, and largely, well looked after.

“How did you mess this up so much?”

She shrugged.

“I don’t know. I love it.”

The book was an anthology of love poems. I was always more of a classicist, so flicked past the modern names. I commented on the lack of writers I knew, but she was already resting her head on the bath, eyes closed, waiting for me to begin.

I started reading an excerpt of Paradise Lost. I knew she didn’t really like Milton, but I did, so I read it anyway. I was almost completely faithful to the text.

She smiled at me when I got to the end, and there was a slight wrinkle in the creases of her smiling eyes that made me think she knew every word I had changed, and that she knew I chose that in spite of her dislike of it. Her smile said she knew all of these things, but it had still made her happy.

She invited me to join her. The water was too hot for me, so she spent a while toeing the cold tap until I could stand to get in. I put my back to the taps �" I was a gentleman on occasion.

She announced that she was an atheist, but believed we were all gods in our own right, she just didn’t trust the power given to us, so tried her best to ignore it.

She asked me, “If you had all the stereotypical godly powers �" powers to create, destroy, change anything into whatever you wanted, what would you want to change?”

I looked at myself through the water. Hard lines. I said I would want to be happier with myself and asked what she would change.

She looked sad for a moment, I think she was sad about my answer. She leant backwards and gazed up at the skylight that was flooding the room. She bit her bottom lip. A drop of water slid down from her chin along her jaw, down her neck and then skipped across her breast.

As it fell back into the water, she looked me in the eye, smiled, and said “Nothing”.

© 2014 squeeze

Author's Note

I'm trying to find a way of writing about love without making it seem sickly sweet or over sentimental. I'm not sure if I've done that here, but I really enjoyed writing this :-)

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Compelling and enjoyable read. Well done!

Posted 6 Years Ago

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1 Review
Added on June 25, 2014
Last Updated on June 25, 2014
Tags: Love, romance



Leeds, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom

I have always loved reading and think it's a great way of sharing stories. I'd love to be able to share some of my own stories too and hopefully entertain people and bring my characters to life. more..

Julius Julius

A Story by squeeze