It’s hard not to watch her, the water beading at her skin like sea pearls sloughed by the ocean onto a beach made of glass. You’re beautiful, I say, ignoring the shower spray hitting my face. She spits a mouthful of it in the air like a childish cherubic fountain and smiles under the downpour. ‘I’m so wet,’ she says, laughing harder than the liquid’s porcelain patter. I mean, I say, your skin looks like freshly turned ochre spread by coarse, artists fingers. ‘Shush,’ she says, get my back. I put my hands upon her gladly and drink deep.
I cancelled my date with Ashleigh because I didn’t want to shower. The idea of putting effort into myself on behalf of another person seemed as repellent as the cavalcade of odours gentrifying my being. Easier to keep rotting awhile than resort to self-esteem. I texted to tell her I wouldn’t make it again, I’d had a mild emergency, some family trouble, a soft sell she returned by telling me to go fuck myself with firm creativity. I spent the night wallowing in the pit I’d dug, a bad choice made right, and never did have that shower.