My mother is a bathing enigma. For a woman who hates to shower, you would think her choice of soap would be a non-issue. Not so. She needs a hardy bar; no frou-frou body washes in lemon verbena or wistful lavender. Moreover, it has to be fairly new. Anything under a third of a square and I’m in for some colorful language.
I don’t know what happened in her childhood to cause this obsession. My mother came from a poor immigrant family and suffered through the Depression. You’d think she’d wring every last froth out of a soap cake.
Whatever the reason, I refuse to throw away perfectly good slabs of usable soap. If we have to resort to a bit of shower gel with her bar every now and then to shore it up, so be it.
Yesterday morning, I hadn’t checked the dish before she got into the shower. I like to prepare myself in the event of an oncoming soap diatribe.
“Madon, but there is never any soap in this house.”
“Ma, there is a perfectly good portion right there in the dish.”
“What…this?” she said, grabbing the offensive beige-colored piece, eyeing it with disgust. “What am I gonna do with this?”
“Are you kidding me? There's almost half a bar there!”
“A fangula,” she said disgustedly, and slammed the curtain shut.
Mere moments later, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a tip of the curtain open. A sloppy and slimy wedge flew out and hit the wall with a mushy thud. The projectile lay dead at my feet – the soap bar in a pyre of its own suds.
I pulled open the shower curtain and there was my half washed mother, a sparkle in her eye, proffering an empty facecloth.
If a new bar wasn’t two floors down in our basement closet, I would have gladly gotten it just for the laugh she gave me. It was too risky though; four flights in total provide plenty of time to flee the shower for a woman who hates to bathe and is soapless.