Friday, August 06, 2010

Short story

The distance between the front door and the bathroom was only twelve paces. Short, indoor paces. She knew this because in moments of stress she had the habit of counting footfalls. Footfalls were real. They were the moment when the self connected with the external. She counted footfalls, the moment the heel struck the floor or the ground, because those were the instants when it could be concretely established that the self was also real. Twelve paces were twelve irrefutable instances of existence, which was, surprisingly perhaps, not always easy to establish.

Tonight, she wished that she did not know how many paces there were between the front door and the bathroom. How fast could that distance be traversed? The orange street light colour glowed in through the slats in the blinds. She could hear nothing, either from the bathroom or from the street outside. She was still standing in front of the door with her hand on the knob, listening. The only thing she could hear was her own heart and the sound of blood in her ears.

She stared through the gloom down her wide hallway. The twelve paces looked shorter tonight. The bathroom door was closed, it’s brass handle shone dully against the white painted wood. No light was on as she pulled the key out of the lock and quietly closed the door. It was hot, though it was nearly eleven.

When she was a little girl, she had been terrified of her grandmother’s bathroom. Her grandparents lived outside of town and in the autumn the wolf spiders would come inside where it was warmer. Up the drains they would climb, perhaps smelling their way forwards, up through a little circle of light and into the bath. For them, it was a trap. The claws on the ends of their legs could not find purchase on the smooth porcelain of the old white bathtub. A clawfoot bathtub.




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