The shower curtain runs diagonally through the shower bath. It runs from the far right hand corner to the left hand corner closest to you as you approach it from the door. It clings to your body as you wash yourself like a lonely child or pet. It is possible to avoid it by holding onto the soap rack with one hand and washing yourself with the other hand while keeping close to the corner but I have found that the effort required is not sustainable over a long period of time.
How the shower curtain came to be this way is difficult to ascertain. What I know is that one morning a man arrived at the door, twice refused a hot beverage and went into the bathroom to install the shower curtain. When he left, he shouted the kind of amiable farewell greeting that suggests that everything is in order. I beheld the diagonal shower curtain for the first time shortly after this but didn’t fully appreciate its character until later that evening when it clung to my body as if for the last time, though it was the first time.
I like to believe that I have made peace with the awkwardness of my interactions with the curtain but I can’t be sure. It would probably be more accurate to say that my feelings about it fluctuate. I am usually able to quieten my concerns about the curtain’s contact with bodies other than my own, knowing that the installation happened at the beginning of my tenancy here. So while the situation is by no means ideal, I am at least familiar with the small number of bodies to which the curtain is likely to have clung in its time. I don’t worry too much about the bodies to which the curtain will cling when I leave this place, as it’s really none of my business.
I have been thinking about what remains on the curtain of the bodies after showering and the variables that need to be taken into account if I am to establish exactly where I stand on the matter. I have been made aware that the bacteria on our bodies is constantly changing and renewing itself. So beyond considering the traces that are left behind by the number of individual bodies that have showered here, it is necessary to consider that each of these bodies is effectively a different body with each shower.
This has led me to thinking about how parts of the person I was last month might come into contact with parts of the person I am in the shower today – not to mention the multitudes of parts of other people mingling here. This shower curtain is the haunt of multiple parts of multiple bodies across multiple temporalities.
I fold this over in my mind as I shower, and sometimes I forget which parts of myself I have washed and, time permitting, wash all the parts again.