I wanted to take a shower by myself. It had been a while since I had taken a shower by myself. I could not take a shower by myself because, if I did, my fiancée was convinced I was showering for another woman. I would be making myself pretty and clean for another woman that wasn’t her.
“You are taking a shower to make yourself irresistible,” she would say.
Or if I wasn’t showering for another woman, my fiancée was convinced that I was showering with another woman.
“I can hear the two of you rubbing each other,” my fiancée would say. “You are not cleaning each other. You are rubbing each other.”
I would open the shower curtain, try to show her I was in the shower by myself.
“Where is she then?” I would say. “Is she in the drain?”
“Yes,” she, my fiancée, would say. “That puta is in the drain.”
I thought of a woman in the drain, her face up close to the grate. She had her mouth open and flapping, and she was sucking at all the water that came off my body. This woman was most certainly not my fiancée.
We were in the shower together right now. I soaped my fiancée, and she soaped me. We had a routine when we showered together.
I soaped her legs so that, next, she could shave them. She insisted on cheap razors. They got dull after one or two uses, but she would use them for a month. And she would shave herself fast and carelessly. She often gave herself cuts on her ankles or heels. A cut right where the inside of her thigh meets her groin.
This time, though, she didn’t cut herself. After she finished, she proposed that she should shave my legs. I hadn’t shaved my legs in years—not as long as I had known my fiancée. I said I didn’t want her to shave my legs.
“Why?” she said. “Because of the women?”
She soaped my legs. “Tranquila,” she said. She started shaving me fast, and only a few strokes into it, she peeled my shin. The water came off of me, and it went into a mouth.
Rhoads Stevens grew up in Honolulu and lives in Providence.