O, Fons Bandusiae!

for Professor Phillips

Over the years she’d had a lot of boyfriends. Lovers. She thought of them as boyfriends; even when she couldn’t find her high school anymore when she visited her parents, even when she was meeting the next one in Patriot’s Bar, raising a glass to his memory. Boyfriends.

They’d go home together. They’d fumble through the first night, hampered by their strangeness, hobbled by alcohol, but they’d be laughing. She’d still be laughing the next week, and the next, and the next, and the fumbling would grow less, and the strangeness aye. She’d stop laughing. She would miss the laughing, and she’d wonder if knowledge was a high enough price to pay for laughter.

It would be her bathroom that would end things between them. He would avoid using it whenever he came over, would leave in the morning to brush his teeth at home. She’d beard him on this, and he’d make stammering, evasive replies. She’d build his refusal up in her mind, discover there that he was married, had three children, and saw in the bathroom some sign of stability and love that he wasn’t willing to give to her.

So she’d dump him.

Then clean the bathroom.