Stephanie Jackson

Shower Dance

The hot water pounded down heavily on her shoulders as the pointer finger continued to poke the shower curtain. The blue and white stripes bowed in closer to her, just slightly, but the tempo of the poking was insistent.
“I know you’re there,” she said, her voice like a just-birthed flower.
“Then why don’t you come out?” they inquired, continuing to poke the curtain. A face shape gradually became evident in the contours of the fabric, but disappeared before it was clear enough to discern the features.
“Because nothing happened.”
The voices laughed, the sound merging with the feeling of the curtain flapping wetly against her skin. “Something did happen,” they assured her. “Don’t you want to come out and see?”
Clutching her arms tightly around her naked shoulders, she shook her head. “I’m okay in here, but thank you,” she responded politely. Both feet edged further from the curtain, fingers pressed against the opposite wall.
“You must come out eventually,” they assured her, their tone metallic and certain. “The water will get cold and you will freeze.”
She pressed her hand up into the shower spray. “It’s still warm now. I don’t think it’s going to run out later.”
“Perhaps you’re right,” they conceded. There was a long pause. She thought maybe they left. Tilting her head back in the pouring water, she swallowed a mouthful, savoring the feel of the warm liquid coursing down her throat.
The poking suddenly resumed. “We shall have to describe what we see to you, then, if you are unwilling to come out.”
“No, I would really rather just shower in peace, if it’s all the same.”
“There are two just outside the door,” they continued, unbothered by her resistance. “They are small. Soft. Would you like to know how long they made noise after they watched your feet disappear?”
“I would not like that.” She ducked her head under the warm deluge. For a moment, she could not hear the voices. She rejoiced, a smile spreading across her face, her soaked hair following the lines of her upturned lips.
But the voices were in the warmth, the rhythm from the curtain resuming in the water that poured over her body. “The hands are closed in little fists. They called to you, after you walked away. It would seem they did not understand.”
She jerked back from the water flow, pawing at her ears to rid them of the clogging water. “What did they not understand?” she questioned, yanking on each lobe to ease the water’s passing.
The voices only laughed again. “They are getting stiff now. You should come out.”
“I want to wait until they are sleeping,” she pleaded. “Don’t tell me to come out again until they have fallen asleep.”
The voices whispered, “They do sleep. They sang themselves lullabies before they went. Do you taste them on your fingertips?”
She slipped a finger into her mouth. Iron. “I don’t know what I taste.”
“You taste silence, dear Mother.”