This You and the Soap Checker

Son, you’re six right now. These phases and years are passing quickly and it’s become important to note each stage, like black marks on the wall, before it’s surpassed and made archival by the next one.

You’re now independent enough to shower on your own. You don’t want to sit in the bathtub with your little sister and pop bubbles anymore. You want to be a big boy and wash your own hair and body, so we’re letting you.

We’re also timing you. You get 5 minutes for a regular shower, 7 minutes if you need to wash your hair and get the full detail. Timed showers and water rations may be a part of your future so why not learn early. Sorry for the countdown updates I yell over the roar of the showerhead—“2 minutes left!”—but we want you to be mindful of precious time and resources.

After your shower, I’ve introduced a new instrument to test whether you’re using soap or not. You don’t know this now but the instrument is a useless fake. It’s actually a wadded up strand of speaker wire that I pulled from a random upstairs drawer.  I unravel the bundle and open up the two wires at the end and put them against your body. It’s not plugged into anything but somehow tests for traces of soap on your skin or in your wet hair. And you believe it. You ask how it works and I tell you that it’s too complicated to read or explain.

Your mind is still gullible and ripe for pranking though your body is growing, young and lean, baby fat long gone.

You’re a boy but it’s just a gender for now—you are basically asexual. The thing that dangles from your middle is a meaningless growth. You know it makes you different from girls but have no idea what it’s for other than a pee-maker. Your self-image is a new delivery, just showed up on the front porch of your personality, and you’re opening the box to see what it is, trying it on for size–any insecurities and self-consciousness that comes with it are coming later, like separate shipments, and I’m not sure how to return those items unopened.

On shower nights I stand outside the bathroom door looking at the stopwatch on my phone. I watch the time fly by and wonder if I need to shave off another sixty seconds so I can hang out with this you just a minute longer.

photo (11)


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