Oh the walls are good but sure the drains are a terror

I remember, from when I was very young, going in to talk with my father while he was in his bath. He would put away his book — he’s a great man for reading, is my father — and look up at me, his hair damp and dark from the water, or floating slightly if he happened to be resting lower in the tub, and we would talk. What we talked about I don’t know. But I remember the hairiness of his belly rising out of the water, and the pale bloom of his penis, neither large nor small but simply a part of him like his beard or the rainbow-coloured apple on his key ring. He loved the water, and was always taking baths or showers. When we’d go to a hotel, straightaway he’d put on his swimsuit and go down to the hot tub. Sometimes my mother would go with him, or I would, or Stephen, or Lesley, or some combination of us, but the certain thing was he would go.

These memories live in my flesh, rise from their dark corners when I stretch myself out in warm and fragrant water, and reach out my hand for my book.