I\’m going to get my ass burned because I\’ve had little to no experience with creative writing since I was in middle school. Whenever I\’ve had a creative writing assignment, I\’ve frozen; I love writing non-fiction and despise fiction and narrative. But apparently, it\’s required that I take a course that works with narrative. I\’m not looking forward to it. My counselors suggested I start practicing now so that in a few weeks I\’ll be more open to it. Heeeyah. Well, so here\’s practice.
He burst into the bathroom, firing words out of his mouth that sounded like they had the misfortune of being dialogue written by a half-literate devotee of Henry Miller. \”J\’accuse! L\’adultère!\”
\”Whaa? Huh,\” was about all I could muster between the soap and water pouring around my face in the bath. I wasn\’t sure whether to laugh or be frightened by the absurd and rude entrance.
\”I smell her. In here. She\’s been here, hasn\’t she?\” He had by now pulled back the curtain, attempting to expose my guilt and instead finding my nakedness.
Under the stream I shook off the suds that had mixed with the filth, reached toward the spigots, and snapped, \”No, she hasn\’t.\” In my petulance, I emphasized the ridiculousness of both the situation and the accusation by bending at the waist, then slapping my wet hair up toward him, stinging his surprised face. \”That\’s what you smell.\”
\”I don\’t–I mean–I thought,\” he couldn\’t find the words to explain, but I forgave him, because I\’d never been able to find the words, either.
\”Smell this,\” I offered quietly, handing him a small bottle of body wash from the shower. \”It\’s from a soap sampler I got as a gift years ago, but never got around to using. When we ran out of soap last week, I pulled these out from under the sink; remember we used that cucumber one? You finished it off this morning, and I grabbed this one.\”
He stood there, having sniffed the bottle, and tried to smile at me. Eventually, he handed the offensive liquid back, walked the two steps out of the bathroom and closed the door behind him. No, not behind him — between himself and me, me and her. He left me in there, with the smell of her hair.
Well, he was right to accuse me; it wouldn\’t have been the first time I had committed l\’adultère. But not with her; never with her! It had never been like that, between she and I. Yes, between myself and other men, and yes, the occasional woman, but not with her. I knew better.
What would have been the point of making love to someone so like myself, someone so capricious and willful that I could never win a single battle? I might have ended up her slave, and I had never been anywhere near that position of devotion before, only on the receiving end. No, being with her was all wrong, though I flirted with it, toyed with it, even secretly sometimes longed for it, it wasn\’t meant to be.
Having the scent of her there, in the bottle, was the closest I ever got to possessing her, and so I stopped using that particular body wash and hid it in the medicine cabinet. When Mari is asleep, his snoring permeating through our appartement walls, I pull out the bottle, take off the cap, and breathe deeply of all I have that is her.