The shower is where there are inevitable clashes as two young women, each used to monopolising the bathroom in the morning are forced to find another option.
This is chapter 20 from A Family Affair by Bernard Preston.
A family affair is a trilogy of three books
You are a little over half way through Book I. The Bostonians is free, but this is an early unedited, version. If you're enjoying the plot, wouldn't it make sense to lash out and spend 99c and buy the fully edited tome? Just a thought. You can read it on your tablet, or your smartphone using the free Kindle app from Amazon.
Santie and Janet fell into an easy routine of hard work during the day, looking up old cases and doing the donkey work around the firm, and hard tennis twice a week in the evenings. Most Sunday mornings they enjoyed a fifty kilometre ride. In between they jogged or swam and it wasn’t long before were strong and fit. Life was good. The first three months passed in a flash and they renewed the contract for a further six months. Despite radically different backgrounds they slipped into an easy friendship.
A Family Affair is a tale of women in love, deceit, and a young man who is hoodwinked into siring their children.
Book IV is in the pipeline. Santie discovers she has an Italian half brother who is a cardinal; Giorgio becomes the first married man to be elected to the highest office in the Church in a thousand years.
Early mornings of course were often dramatic around the flat. A single bathroom shared by two women proved problematic, and breakfast was often just an apple munched in the bus on the way to work. The car stayed in the garage unless they were playing tennis in the evening. They worked out a bathroom routine with a simple rule: no one was allowed to wash their hair if they got into the shower after seven in the morning. It worked except that Santie broke the rule occasionally.
‘Santie, you aren’t washing your hair again, are you? You know the rule!’ Janet was standing impatiently outside the shower in a wrap watching her friend through the frosted glass door. Shampoo suds were flying all over the place. ‘Sorry, Janet, but my hair was so disgustingly smelly after that smoky boardroom meeting last night,’ Santie called. ‘Look, just come in and join me.’
‘You don’t mind?’
‘Of course not, silly. I’m nearly finished anyway.’
Janet hung up her wrap and towel on a hook and slipped into the steamy heat. Santie was facing the taps but moved over so Janet could drench herself. ‘Santie, would you mind giving me a quick scrub between the shoulders. I can’t reach and I can feel it’s getting itchy. Can you see something there?’ She braced her arms against the tiled wall while her friend gave her a good loofa. ‘Ooh, that was nice. Thank you.’ They began to enjoy sharing a shower periodically, with Janet helping Santie getting the shampoo out of her thick black, Italian-to-the-roots hair and, in return she gave Janet’s back a good scrub. ‘That is so much nicer than the back-brush,’ said Janet.
Summer turned to a mild winter and before they knew it, the Spring rains arrived. They were maturing in the matters of law, and were fit and athletic. Despite various attempts Santie wouldn’t play club tennis, but they played an inspiring game together. A friend twisted their arms, getting them started on the triathlon circuit.
Life was busy, if a little too busy. Young men did their damnedest and Janet enjoyed the odd evening out but became increasingly irritated. The routine was always the same. The young man bought the dinner and the movie tickets and then came the your place or mine routine.
‘They made me feel like a prostitute, Sant,’ she said. ‘Just because they’ve paid for the evening, they think they’ve bought the rights to a night in my bed. After the third abrupt angry ending to a pleasant evening out, Janet came home in a taxi, fuming. Santie was still up watching a late movie, and they sat up talking into the wee, small hours while her long and complicated history came painfully out. It explained a lot of things that Janet had simply not understood about her friend. Finally she understand why she refused all dates and seemed to abhor men.
‘What do you miss most about your mum, Santie? You don’t mind me asking? Sometimes it’s healthy to talk about it.’
Santie sat silently thinking about her friend’s question, not sure that she wanted to tread through what had been forbidden territory for so long. Finally she blurted out: ‘I think the dancing. Mum was a dancer before she met my father.’
‘A serious dancer?’
‘Sure. She sang and danced for her dad and brothers’ band; and her cooking. I can still remember the delicious smells from Mum’s kitchen. It’s one of the reasons I think that I like you so much. You are always baking up a storm!’ They laughed easily together.
‘Tell me more. What sort of smells?
‘Coming home from school, the bus stop was right outside our house. The kitchen looked out onto the road and mum always left the window open. She knew how I loved the smells wafting from her kitchen. Even before I stepped onto the pavement, I could usually smell a cake in her oven, or a pizza or even an aubergine dish. That was her favourite.’
‘Aubergine? What’s that?’
‘We call them brinjals. I think it’s the Indian name.’
‘Oh, brinjals. Of course. I’ve never tried cooking them. Shall we buy some from the Fruit and Veg tomorrow, and try a few recipes?’
‘I would love that. You’re good for me, Janet.’ Santie was a bit misty-eyed. Janet walked around the table and gave her friend a hug. Santie clung to her for just a moment.
"Because if a man has a chance to be a writer and turns it down, he's a damned fool."
Bernard Preston's books are about better health on the one hand, and the ironies and strange twists and turns of life, on the other. Like do you agonise over bath vs shower?
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