The Curious Case of a Half-Used Bar of Soap

The day was milky-white with all the fog.

Dia woke up, rubbing her eyes, shrugging off the mists around her wheel’s cog.

D.J. was still asleep next to her,

He had had one too many, and would wake up with head on a whir.

Oh, what a joyous day it promised to be, thought she.

*

The deodars were astir outside,

Each jostling with breezes unseen; each unwilling to shed pride.

She waddled to the pine-lined kitchen,

He’d like the coffee hot, it was a rule unwritten.

She put the water on the burner and looked at the list on the fridge door.

*

“To do,” it read, and rightly so, because to do was what she needed to do.

The first to do was the attic box blue.

It lay there since almost forever,

Forgotten, and, she was sure, in need of an organiser clever.

But first she must let out Constance, the family tortoise, for she enjoyed a waddle on the gravelly outside.
*

Constance was hiding ‘neath her shell, waiting to be picked because leading would be too slow.

Dia picked up the thirty-year old, and inspired her with early-morning coos to go, go, go.

D.J. was sleeping still. He woke up when the smell of coffee wafted out of the mug-cozy.

The coffee would be ready in two, Dia knew, and then she would go with hers to attic, feeling a little nosy.

She poured the coffees, more for him and less for her, and went to his bedside with his to keep it in waiting.
*

It wasn’t difficult to climb the attic stairs, they’d made sure.

Even though she was nearing seventy, she could even tackle the iron door.

The attic was one of her favourite places at home; such height, such recesses.

It was painted beige to her liking; he liked white — the colour of beige when it undresses.

There was no dust, no cobweb around, she got it cleaned every now and then.

*

The topmost thing in the box she’d painted blue was a bar of soap.

Lavender its smell, lavender its colour, lavender its foam must have been, as she tried to grope.

She looked for something to hold on to, to settle down and perhaps finally breathe.

For years had gone by, she realised, and she hadn’t been able to anything much inside, but seethe.

Memories hidden under routine came crashing, crushing her.

*

The day he’d told her nasty things — figments of his frustrated youth,

She’d told him she would never trust him again, the boorish uncouth.

His crime wasn’t much, he had just taken her for a ride on disrespect,

But she could not forgive him, not bear to let him think things were now perfect.

She couldn’t bear to exchange intimacy of a shared cleansing, even.

*

She had packed the dried lavender soap in a large envelop,

Put it up above, over their heads, waiting for some intimacy to develop.

Soon, they had begun to use shower gels fragrant,

And later, the mists had overtaken pleasure on bed, too, completely arrant.

Years packed each other, they had forgotten, but now she remembered she had never forgiven.

*

D.J. hadn’t been too guilt-ridden,

It all just happened, and was best away-bidden.

She, however, remembered feeling disillusioned,

And had promised him a parting of ways, for he was delusioned.

She hadn’t kept her promise, the feeling all forgotten with Constance’s speed.
*

Dia got up from her part-time rest on the attic floor.

She pulled herself down from the stairs ahead of the iron door.

The lavender bar of soap clutched in her hand, she entered the bedroom, suddenly able to stand.

She packed her bag with just few things, and a lot of emotions unplanned.

Later in the day, when D.J. got up to remove the mug-cozy, he saw a bar of soap next to the narcissus on his bedside.

*

Strange, he thought, Dia was never inappropriate with things.

His head was throbbing, though, he’d think about it later.

Picking up the  just-right coffee, he walked to the room window.

Strange, he thought, the picket gate was open.

Maybe she’d gone for a rare walk. Or maybe she was picking the pine cone cores he so liked.

Still under illusion, he waddled along to the kitchen. It was noon. Perhaps she left a note somewhere.

No, she doesn’t do that — leave notes or leave. Where could she be? he thought as he looked at the now wilting narcissus.

And then he saw the soap. Memories hidden under routine came crashing, crushing him.

“I’ll leave one day, when I no longer have the strength to take in your bad memory,” she’d said.

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7 thoughts on “The Curious Case of a Half-Used Bar of Soap”

  1. I read this out loud to myself. It needs to be performed on stage, I think.

    “…he liked white — the colour of beige when it undresses.” Am I allowed to say I love that?

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