fiction by Sabrina Cheetham
I used to hang in an old manor house in the Cotswolds in England, but then the owners sold the entire estate and I ended up on a table outside, surrounded by old typewriters, lamps and other bric-a-brac, waiting for my destiny to take a new course. I would never have dared to dream of the future ahead of me - the future I am living now. Indeed, the reality exceeded my wildest fantasies.
My place in the manor house had always been in the hall. I watched over the family and their guests, saw them rearrange their hats and scarves, listened for the sudden chime of the doorbell. Sometimes the chatter became almost unbearable in its monotony - endless hellos and farewells, weather talk and instructions to drive carefully. As much as I respected my place, I never quite overcame the feeling that there was more to be seen, more to be heard, more to be felt, out there. Somewhere.
In the bathroom. She put me in the bathroom. Opposite the shower nozzle. At first I was disappointed. Endless chatter about nothing interesting was better than no talk at all. I stared glumly at the white tiles all around me. The sink was to my right. A washing machine was beside that. I had noticed this when she brought me into the room. All I was able to look at now was the bathtub and shower. Right in front of me, they are. I sank into despair. Would this be it? All tiles and no fun? What on earth could keep me entertained in the bathroom?
She could. I'll never forget the first time I watched her take a shower. Her bulky cardigan was the first garment to fall to the shiny floor, her old trousers and underwear swiftly followed suit.
Nothing on earth could have prepared me for the sight of her naked body. She was much more slender than I had first thought - her clothes were obviously not of the flattering variety.
Her skin appeared to possess the texture of silk, and her teint was the palest alabaster. In awe, I watched her step under the shower spray. Slowly, her long red hair darkened with the water, and clung to her perfect shoulders. Her eyelashes separated like starfish. Never since my creation had I seen such a beautiful sight. The water ran in rivulets between her pert breasts, down her endlessly long legs, and pooled around her bare feet. She turned around then, and I admired the curve of her neck and her back.
The water was hot, and soon steam was rising. Within minutes, my face was cloudy and blurred. Yet I was content in the knowledge that I would be able to watch this miracle again soon.
Not only do I enjoy the sight regularly, I have the pleasure of seeing it in variation. While this woman never fails to overwhelm me with her beauty and elegance, and I could never tire of watching her bathe, I did eventually discover a preference regarding her shower habits.
The summer. When she takes cold showers in the summer. Not only am I permitted to enjoy the spectacle for a longer period of time (my glass doesn't get misted when the water is cool), but the sight itself is even more fascinating. The bathroom has a large window with a Venetian blind. Sometimes the sun shines through the slats, painting shadowy stripes on her heavenly, wet form. When she moves, washing her hair, these ribbons of light give added grace - it almost looks as though she is dancing.
I enjoy seeing her skin get darker every time she has been sunbathing, at first it goes the colour of warm toast, then a dark caramel - it looks as though she is wearing a white bikini when that happens.
And when the water is particularly cold, I can clearly see the goosebumps rising on her long arms and thighs - even on her round buttocks when she turns her back to me.
Watching my lady take showers and baths has become my reason to exist. Nothing can compare to that. It is the most peaceful, breathtaking sight, every time.
And I will continue to hang there, in the best place ever.