View Full Version : Bath

January 17th, 2011, 11:26 PM
I wrote this as an experiment with the third person as I normally use the first which is comfortable for me.


He sits in the tub. He puts his mouth to the cooling water and blows, eyes widening in response to the ripples, seeing he has cause and effect and repeating the action several times to be sure. Looking up to his mother, does she see? She does not, and continues moving about the room quickly with a bottle that squirts and a small square of cloth. It smells harshly and she moves her cloth in circles. He wonders if it is like coloring. Crawling the length of the tub, he maneuvers his boats, sinks them. Fills his cup and dumps, imagining fish live here, that he is collecting them and that they flow from his cup and disappear under the still water surrounding him and down the hole in the tub, that the stopper is not there. He does not consider that the tub would be empty. The fish are dumped outside the tub. Now she notices, turning quickly at the sound of the splash on the tile. He grins with the pleasure of simply being noted by her, she looks stern but cannot help her reciprocal smile. But now she sees him and it is time for the thing he dreads, he twists away knowing it will come anyway. Yellow liquid squirts on his head. It smells like the machine the clothes go in and out of and the smell she has under her arms. Fingers massage his head and he feels delighted by her touch, closing his eyes, forgetting for a moment. Lifted out, the air slaps his body forcefully with its cold and gooseflesh rises before she can wrap him in the cocoon that is blue and warm. He watches the water drip off his toes and is concerned with their withering, that they have been irreversibly changed. Slowly he is laid back, head upside down and he waits for the waterfall to begin. The water is always too warm on his scalp, he squeezes his eyes shut against its insistent flow. Ears fill and the sounds change. Scared to breathe in or open his eyes, held firmly, heart beginning to rush through its beats, missing some, clattering against his ribs. It is the waiting for the end that he cannot stand, it seems as if it is longer than the day and night. The last of the water falls from the pitcher and chases the yellow liquid that is now foamy tiny bubbles down the drain. The tipping back up he loves, the room goes reddish and blurred for a moment but he is hugged so tightly he barely notices. The tightly wrapped cocoon, the immovable arms that grip him, the sweet cloying smell. No fortress is as impenetrable as this. Floating, weightless out of the room, there is no greater safety.

Olly Buckle
January 18th, 2011, 12:23 AM
Check out how many sentences start with 'he' or 'his'. If you restrict it to a little group at the start it can be an effective device, but these things need to be controlled, it is easy to change eg.
He crawls the length of the tub and maneuvers his boats,
Crawling the length of the tub he manoeuvres his boats.
Note the spelling as well.

Nicely observed though.

January 18th, 2011, 02:31 AM
Thank you for your thoughts. Re-reading, you are absolutely right. I am very stiff in the third person which is why I am really trying to push myself to write in it more, although it is a short piece this is a great help.

January 18th, 2011, 04:44 AM
Loved viewing things from the toddler's eyes. The imagery was great, very vivid and believable. One thing you may want to do is break it up into paragraphs as they make blocks of prose less intimidating to read.

The Backward OX
January 18th, 2011, 05:32 AM
Olly, do you read anything at all that had its genesis in America? They do spell quite a lot of stuff differently over there, you know.

Olly Buckle
January 18th, 2011, 09:25 AM
Is that the standard American form? I do apologise, I usually make a disclaimer about being English, this time it didn't occur to me.

April 14th, 2011, 04:37 AM
I feel like climbing into a bath after reading that, a great piece and a perfect way to explore the tense.