Washed Away, Little by Little

Cy Westbrook

Today though, I didn’t hear him cry. I didn’t hear him speak. I didn’t hear him tell me of his woes, for which I could be of no aid. I simply heard him walk upstairs and enter the bathroom. That was all I heard from him that day.

After finishing my schoolwork for that night, I entered the bathroom myself, to take a shower, as the waking hour the school required was far too early to take one in the morning. By this time, he was already in bed. When I opened the faucet the water was cold, as usual. But today, it never got warmer.

On the soap dish, there lay a bar of soap, almost new. This was his bar of soap, and today, something was amiss with regards to it. Coating it today, was a creamy, fragile, light-colored substance, of a foamy consistency. I ran my finger over the still wet bar of soap, the cream accumulating on my finger and revealing the pastel blue Dove soap bar beneath. I rinsed my finger in the cold water, and left the bathroom, to await freshly heated water.

That day was, in fact, the last day that I heard from him. Each subsequent day followed a similar progression; he would come home and hide from me. He would not speak, would not cry, would not tell me of his woes for which I could be of no aid.

But each day, when he was in bed and I entered the shower, I saw yet another thick accumulation of cream on his bar of soap. Each day I wiped this accumulation off with water.

As the soap dissolved away, clearly untouched by him, but heated and creamed by prolonged exposure to the steam of rather hot water, the bar grew smaller. I watched how, without him laying a finger on it, its solidity; its function, was washed away, little by little.

One evening, all that was left of the bar was a smudge of cream on the soap dish.

And the next morning – it was he, who would not hear me speak, who would not hear my cry, when I did. It was he, who would not hear me tell of my woes; my woes for which there was now no one left there to listen.