My bedroom walls are covered in cracks. There’s one that runs right along at a couple of feet high, then goes upward, and back along again. It outlines a big stone brick, I think. There’s faint cracks on the other two sides, so it’s almost like this little square in the wall. Where some of the wall folds back on the corner, I often pry it with my fingers. Just enough to feel like I could pull it right off if I wanted, but I don’t.
If I pulled off that bit of wall, there’d be something great there. I know it. I don’t know what, but it’d be something good. Like an old toy car, some money, maybe. An old coin. It looks like someone has dug in there and then sealed it up again – made themselves a little hideaway in my wall. I imagine myself finding whatever it is, and I’d be happy. Like I scratched a mosquito bite, the pain fading away and I found some pot of gold, or whatever.
I once loved a girl. I think I did, anyway. I am showering with the light off so that I can leave the window open and look onto the street. There’s a hobo there that always drinks longnecks on the corner and leaves them with the paper bag wet and curled around the bottle top. He always looks straight ahead though, so I doubt he’d see me anyway.
If there’s one thing I’m scared of, it’s slipping over in the shower. It’s one of those bath showers with curved sides that are a sure trap for the feet: dying to trick my foot and pull me down. How would it look, do you wonder? Someone finding me dead on the floor: shower running cold, lights off and the window open. My collection of soap-ends scattered in the bath – those last bits of soap that are no good alone, but that can be moulded with others to make a proper bar.
The hobo would be questioned: I never look up there, he’d say, he’s always up there naked in the dark. It would be them that would make me slip: the soap-ends. Is it worth it, I now wonder and pick up a few. The extra risk for the enjoyment of using that last bit of soap?
If I did slip but not die, it would be her that I would want to wake to in hospital. The girl that I think I loved.
There are nine million injuries caused by falling each year. How many happen in the shower? I slide the four soap-ends off the side of the bath-shower with my foot and squash them through the drain.