A BASIC STUDY FOR THE RESURRECTION OF A BATHROOM
Jon Mitchell - A relaxing observational
he pondered, what is it to exist? thought a man who sat
in the middle of his bath, sideways on, facing the toilet. The radio
in the lounge at the end of the hallway emits a muffled gurgle of news
or story; he is undecided, trying to block the sounds as much as he
is trying to listen.
Toilet roll drapes down, caressing the top of an old yellow and rust
bitten radiator, he studies a corner for the first time noticing an
undiscovered patch of decay. The radiator is less than a foot from the
toilet bowl; maybe splashes of urine over the years have acted as a
form of corrosive liquid.
The cheap pink toilet roll delicately moves, lightly twisting her textured
cloth as if dancing, communicating with the old and neglected metal
recipient. The ageing radiator gracefully acknowledges her presence,
his warm breath steadily rising, lifting the soft swirling material.
She moves for him, touching the heat with her embossed love heart pattern
that spreads out upon an unharmed and virginal surface.
A different voice is heard travelling along the hallway, derailing his
train of thought momentarily. He scratches a rubbery cheek with badly
trimmed fingernails and looks up at the pull-cord, gently swinging in
its designated spot.
How long has the cord occupied that particular space, a single
short line of emptiness no more than three foot in length filled with
the flimsy thread of an ageing switch? he wondered, adding to
his deliberation the line must be black from top to bottom!
He watched the cord move lethargically, it was obviously waiting in
isolation for the next tug, the next usage of its working life, screwed
into the ceiling, fixed into its place.
Over a long period of time the clean woven exterior of the pull-cord
has become stained, yet by no means dysfunctional, just ugly and used.
Maybe thought the man I should buy another one, theyre
cheap, I could buy an ornamental cord with a hanging figure of a cat
or a rabbit.
After a pause in contemplation a decision occurred in that practicality
should take greater precedence and that although abused with the fondling
of grubby ignorant fingers, the existing cord is still a functional
His eyes moved about the room letting his mind take in the surroundings,
so different today, so clear. Dust collected by its own free will, entwined
into pencil shaped moustaches that wore the corners of the room with
dirty wavering grins, and so these too become suggestive.
The radiator hadnt stopped rumbling since the man had slipped
into the warm water.
The plastic bathtub, split along the side edges revealed a dark line
of mould and scum. Yet for the moment he was more intrigued with the
nature of his observance than the shades of his poverty.
The water was clean, he thought, so why let the spoilt bathroom interior
affect this clarity of mind.
Existence he quizzed what is it just to be?
He looked straight ahead toward the underside of the toilet lid, propped
up against the cistern, revealing the naked water that lies waiting,
ready to take the contents of an aching bowel, to flush them out of
sight and out of mind. But even the lid was broken, corrupting the symmetry
of the ideal standard lavatory. The tank behind the lid,
attached to the wall, was crooked.
Does this hinder the cisterns durability? he said to himself,
making polite conjecture with nobody.
Taking further recognition of the shoddy workmanship, he noticed the
brown stains that ran so offensively around the circumference of the
bowl. He slipped further into the bath striking a more relaxed repose,
which led, unfortunately or not, to further dismay.
The ceiling was peeling between darkened blotchy patches of damp rot.
A light bulb was missing along with the fittings, leaving only two dim
bulbs, one of which was red.
The disused space of a forgotten fixture had been covered over with
a postcard, stuck to the peeling artex with masking tape. I did
that remembered the man who gazed once again at the image of a
pastel dandelion floating before an azure void.
The toilet gave an involuntary splutter, which turned his attention
back to the latrine.
My poor lonely friend he sighed it sounds as if you
have consumed too much effluent; he recognized again the aesthetic
dilapidation but couldnt help noticing her. The slender
fluttering toilet tissue which delicately danced had now retreated,
hanging in a lifeless silence behind the radiator.
Had she been tossed aside by the comparably monstrous shape of an angry
body, a masculine object that threw heat with rabid ferocity and no
concern for this serene beauty?
Her loving gestures brushed aside, she can only wait for the despicable
truth of her existence.
The man felt a small pang of guilt as he looked at the torn edges of
her abused quilt, how could he also use her and in such a vile act,
wiping away his own defecation.
He turned in the bath and smiled Existence! What fun it is to
have a day off he grinned to just relax and do nothing.
The shadow of the pull-cord silhouetted on the door frame seemed to
be moving, but the cord itself had relaxed into a pleasant daydream,
refusing to budge for the mans idle amusement.
The voice from the radio changed once again, a more conservative tone
enveloped the misty confines of a strangely provocative room.
The moaning, spluttering pipes were now losing their appeal and the
man, whom again was sitting sideways to the taps, knew that this imaginative
observation was drawing to a close.
He arose reaching for his towel, the water beneath him calm, his body
already dry, his image slowly evaporating amongst the mist; his questions
left within the condensation.
© Jon Mitchell 2001
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