The Author makes love with his wife. The door is locked against children. He feels good while making it. He could say it is fantastic if he had a single word in his head, which he doesn’t, thank god, if he were conscious of his wordlessness, which he is not. He makes love to Mary. He does not want it to end. He would want the story to end if he gave a goddam about the story right now, which he does not, if he gave a goddam about a god right now, which he does not. This is his wife. Soft and wet and hard and smooth and this woman pushing back skin on skin on air and his wife rising and in and heat and Mary breathing and Mary pushing and he dallying out and in how he fits all the way in he can get no further in outside of himself ringed entirely by her. Eventually, quickly, in no time he gurgles and drools on her buttocks from his slack jaw and unable to hold himself collapses onto her back for a moment before pushing back up and beginning again and returning to work until she gasps, which could be mistaken for a cough by a voyeur or a burp by a man who doesn’t know her but he knows her well and is not just watching. He says he loves her. He means it. He does it. He loves her. They lie wrung together warm and bare in cool air thoughtless and complete, present and conscious, all this for a moment, two damp circles where her breasts pressed against the sheets, together and pleased, happy and breathing and entwined, until he begins to drip, which does not take long, when he runs to the bathroom. She squeezes her legs together until it’s her turn. Not once during making love or cleaning up from making love, or for several minutes thereafter, does he think about Palo or his story or what it is to be.
* * *
I am trying to slow myself down and prolong the beauty but in spite of my personal privations and because of my muscular strain in clamping down my valve, the pressure builds and I, we together, no, you are not part of this, I was wrong, you are not culpable, not inseminated, I mean not incriminated by your presence, your witness, although perhaps you are because if you stop listening this hurtling forward motion bringing me closer to what has already happened stops, yes, and if you stop I will not do what I have done, and if you stop I am left forever peeing, and if you stop I will never return home, do not stop, don’t stop, don’t stop, please God don’t stop, listen harder, harder, harder, to see my children again, harder, to come closer to that eternity when I will have had sex with Antoinette, harder, to go home. Which is my fantasy now, to go home having done what I have done, suffering for having entertained this alternate reality with Antoinette. Don’t stop. No, perhaps I can never go back to my life, but it is my fantasy, and I do not know what life is if not the pursuit of fantasies, and if the incompatibility of my fantasy with my reality finishes me, thank God, that is thank the air or the light or the vibration or whatever energy is, for leaving me. I will be gone. I will go. Forward. Harder.
I go to the bathroom.
The toilet. I am finished with the toilet. No, I am not done with it, still yet the beauty of Palo excreting in without altering the contents of, but I am finished with it.
The bathroom is longer than it is wide. The axis of length is perpendicular to the axis of entry through the door. That is you enter the door, encounter a wall, and turn to the left to encounter the bathroom. The door to the bathroom from the oneroomcabin’s one room is therefore in a corner of that room, which may prove important, though I cannot imagine how. A narrow path leads past the sink hung on the external wall, adjacent to which sits the pedestal toilet, me before it, facing it, standing, peeing into it, leaning against the inner wall, worn, both myself and the wall worn, as if the wall has supported many such men, but that is not where I am going, for the inner wall is quite close to the external so that myself there before us might and does easily lean against it while still peeing into the toilet without danger of missing or spilling or splashing, though the chance of splashing is everpresent and greatly reduced by my reduced flow reduced by constricted urethral sphincter constricted by my brain like my contracted pelvic floor and everything else down there that I contract and constrict and squeeze and assuage because I still try to slow down and not do what I have done, the only way to avoid said perhaps being to end me despite my professed and sincere desire to go on, the desires to go on and not go on being far from incompatible. On either way. You may have noted that it likely took me more than one step to reach the toilet upon entering the bathroom. I am of like mind. I am not above contradicting myself. I am above a toilet. Beyond myself and the toilet and completing the fourth wall is the shower, a shower seldom used, a small shower for it is a narrow space, one of those showers you stand up in, I do not know what it is called, I do not have much experience with showers, no it is a shower that encompasses the toilet to save space, yes, I have seen this, in a dormitory in an old flat country near the sea when I was young, and I see it here in Antoinette’s bathroom, there is no separate space for a shower, but a showerhead above the toilet and a shower curtain to be pulled and a drain in the floor and a slight grade to the floor so the graywater drains down the drain. A toiletshower. A toiler. A showlet. Then why not dispense with the toilet and its complicated beauty, not to mention all its time and energy and consumption and engineering, and get closer to elemental existence and piss in the floor drain, and yes yes, that too, that is right, the solid, that is why, the solid, how to dispense, how to expel, how to eliminate, how to treat the solid. Even though there are plenty of squat toilets in the world, and plenty of holes to shit in, we continue to advance, to move forward, and so the most exemplary example of progress, the toilet, is present in this old rustic log cabin. I said I would say no more about the toilet, or if I did not, that is what I meant, and I will eventually. But saying about the toilet is for some sick reason necessary, the sick reason being, as I have said before, I have nothing else to say but must keep going must keep saying or I will have had sex with Antoinette. Perhaps Antoinette will come into the bathroom and we will do it here in the shower on the toilet and then it will be done and I can figure out what is next, no no onward go yes. Then let me, you, us, if the toilet is desired, needed, do away with the shower to increase our focus, there is no shower. It was a nifty solution I came up with as to the problem of space, namely combining two distinct parallel spaces into one functioning unit, but nothing is better than a nifty solution. Nothingness, rather. Meaning is meaningless without precision, and I mean to be nothing if not precise. If there were a shower I would have to pee in it.
There is no shower. There will be no sex in the shower, which is good. Sex in the shower is neither as doable nor as pleasant as I would lead you to believe. Reb and I have experimented and learned that for you, so you do not have to. If she bathes at all, Antoinette bathes in creeks, in rivers, in lakes, in the ocean. Which would explain the salty taste I will soon taste and the fishy smell I will soon smell. I do not know where she bathes. I am not her keeper or her husband. She may not bathe, which would explain something too, surely, such as my inappropriate comments, or I do not know what, I do not care if she bathes or not or if it explains or not. There is no shower. The absence of a shower does not require explanation. It is just not there. I will not be washing myself off.
I have inadvertently but thankfully narrowed the confines of the cabin as a whole. I now have a corner to support me where I lean, going to the toilet. Palo, before us as we explore the bathroom, has a corner in which to lean as he makes water, shakes the snake, lounges the lizard, drains the main vein, fuck it, pees, I have never been good at separation from self or objective distance or euphemism. There is no mirror above the sink or where the shower would have been or behind me or above the toilet or on the back of the door or on the wall the door opens against or on the ceiling. There is no mirror anywhere, thank God, or whatever.
* * *
When the Author is still in the bathroom several minutes later, Mary mermaids downstairs with her legs pressed together as one to the half-bath, discharges, wipes up, locks the front door, and climbs the stairs again like a naked two-legged woman. She does not cover up or cringe or linger in front of the windows. She is not what she once was, but no one is, and she doesn’t think what she is is half bad for what she is: a middle-age mother of four, which is nothing she minds a pleasantly surprised passerby or a young admirer indulging in fantasy or a psycho with binoculars catching a glimpse of; these little remarkable events are good for punctuating the day-to-day, though she has no intention of making a lifestyle of revealing herself. Merely imagining another glimpsing her full spheroid breasts and her triangle and her intersecting legs and the split ends of her long straight hair tangentially grazing the curve of her rear end is enough. And if she glances at her reflection in the glass before turning out the lights and saving money, it isn’t lustily or because she wants something other than what she has, or not enough to act on it. No need to go beyond imagining. She knocks on the bathroom door, not because she wants to talk, though this is what the Author thinks she wants, but because she wants her toothbrush. The Author does not respond. She tries the handle. It is locked. She says his name, Cole or Coal or Coil or Kole or Kola or Kol. Nothing. Her annoyance rises, but she does not believe in going to bed angry so she lets it go. She will go to bed happy, because that is what she is, happy. She ditches her Geometry and ignores the laundry and forgets her husband and returns to their bed.