I decided I was going to drown myself. There was no plug to the bath, but that was easily solved by stuffing the washcloth down the drain. I climbed in and waited as the water rose pleasantly warm over the cold gooseflesh of my legs, short hair starting to prickle over them. This felt good. I didn’t remember exactly what Sylvia Plath had said, about baths, but I tried to remember it as the water closed around my ears.
In water I always felt calm as a whale. My swimsuit was like a fine blubber. My limbs would float, my cells swam around me. The microscopic composition of my body, narrowed down to those precise and perfect details, was invisible to me, an unknowable pile of nerves and jelly membranes. I can’t see my own eyes, of course, that’s a secret to me forever; the same way I can’t go looking around in the dark for my sight… I can see me in your eyes! I told a stranger, delightedly. I was four and the man was bobbing in the community pool across from me. I can see me in your eyes, he replied from behind his sunglasses.
I had a dream about a pool, said Leona, so large-eyed and beautiful, vulnerable, almost alien. So blue. It was—pristine. She loved to say the word.
She loved to make collages about the Holocaust.
Blood chased my feet in the shower at home—they were a pair of moon-white fish, speared by something, circling, dying…
Blood oranges water, not pinks it!
Thom told me this under the grim sky of the schoolyard, gray clouds pressing down on us. We had both refused to change our clothes to the PE uniform, and the others flocked around us in gray shirts. Blood oranges water—I thought to myself this was a good description and I had to remember it. She was right.
The warm bathwater was crowding in on me. Sylvia Plath had said something, I knew, in The Bell Jar—something about remembering the ceilings above the bath, maybe.
Water made such mysterious sounds inside my ears. I always liked it. I tried to breathe in, to gulp down the warm water and fill my lungs but I couldn’t manage it. I had already decided not to drown myself, after all. I didn’t want some nurse to find me naked anyway. I took a breath.
At home I had once tried to choke myself in the shower, my hands grasping my neck as I sobbed and spat into the water. You look fucking stupid, I thought, watching my face contort with tears in the foggy mirror. It was extremely satisfying to watch my eyes turn soft blobby pink, quavering with light. Yes, I was so sad. Yes! All these plans I knew wouldn’t work.
Well, it didn’t. And now I didn’t have a clean washcloth. Stupid.
I enjoyed it and decided to take a lot more baths from then on.