The Clawfoot Tub

“That damn claw foot tub,”… she thought.  How could so much of her joy rest in that tub…. Pristine porcelain white with the feet of a gargoyle but the elegance of an anonomous French madame’s bathing place, circa 1922.  The prized possession of her bourgeois lifestyle.  Could that tub be enough to uphold a marriage?  Possibly.  Yes, why not?  Their love had been demonstrated there… they had washed each other like children and lovers do, but something had gone missing as of lately.  There was always tenderness but where was the passion?  Where was the fire they shared during their courtship in New York at various luxury hotels?  Why was she so discontented?  She had a beautiful home, a loving husband, a creative life, but no children had been born out of their love and infertility had stolen much of their once impassioned connection like a thief hoarding diamonds from various nearby jewelry stores.  But maybe it was only because it had been so long since she had felt the arousal of new skin, and the slip of two bodies sliding together amidst the lather of designer soap in a boutique hotel.  What was it about that tub that defined so many of her dreams?  It meant more than ‘you made it girl!’ or ‘you are living the dream!’, it was more than that.  It was a representation of all that she was.  Absolute beauty, but not perfect and new… nostalgic, old world charm; the depth of its ability to hold water; the curved edges as her feminine arms spilled over while she soaked away her joys and pains; the way her legs pierced out when she shaved and the steam permeated off her drenched body; the way it was compact and she could turn the vintage knobs off with her toes.  And now the thought of letting it go, saying goodbye to that claw foot tub, just summoned fear and loss.  What had she worked so hard for?  She thought back to her days of living in a cool but unrefined little studio apartment in New York city in her twenties, when she took not baths but showers in a rickety make shift washing stall in her kitchen that she used to have to connect a hose to the sink just to get a stream of water.  She couldn’t go back to that.  She had earned the right to this type of cleansing.  You could take everything else in the house, but not that tub.  She stood there, staring at it, and cried.  Yes cried for a tub because her whole life was sadly wrapped up in that claw foot tub…. Suddenly the cliché ‘everything in her purse except the kitchen sink’ took on new meaning.  Wait a second, could she ‘fit the tub in her purse?’ she thought.  Who the hell was going to buy her dream house and soak in her tub?  What type of nonsensical tub would she be bathing in next and in what city?  A flood of doubt washed over her leaving her soiled and emotionally messy; now more than ever she needed that tub to hold her like a newborn child being bathed by its mother.   She shook her head, breathed deeply through her lungs, and turned off the light.  There would be no saying goodbye to it tonight.

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