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A Shower With My Sister: 2004
February 21, 2013
I was pregnant. I was also unwed, reading The Scarlet Letter, and really knowing what an utter turd ball Dimmesdale is. It was near the holidays, and I was still “seeing” the fetus’s father. But not seeing him in the forever way, in the “we’re in this mess together” way.
I visited home for Christmastime and Ellen was completely fascinated by my breasts. I was, too. They were blue-veined moons. In my dark bedroom in my college apartment, I had taken my shirt off and stood in a mirror and took flash-bright, grainy photographs of them with a disposable camera. I wanted to remember forever the last time my tits were perfect. Ellen asked if she could touch them.
“Sure.” I called her bluff. She wouldn’t really touch them.
Her own breasts are tiny, A-cups, and are on the list of things I envy about Ellen. She tentatively patted me through my clothes, offered, “I love boobs” by way of apology.
I want to be more surprised that my naïve, thoughtful, Christian honor student of a sister loves boobs. She asked if I would shower with her, she would like to see my breasts.
“Yes.” I said, without hesitating, surprising myself and my parents who are standing right there, looking on with a mixture of pride and horror. I secretly hoped Ellen was a lesbian.
I forgot about the sex bruises on my shoulders and chest, from recent and rambunctious lovemaking with the father.
Ellen and I undress in our parents’ bathroom. We only look at each other’s faces.
“How’s school?” I ask.
“Busy. How about you?”
“Wonderful and unimportant.”
“Yeah,” she lets out a nervous laugh, the only signal that she’s feeling odd, “I bet.”
My parents had one of those large, tile box showers with two shower heads and about 8 square feet of space. Designed for the co-shower. “It came with the house,” they said. “We don’t use it like that!” But then my mother’s most prevalent piece of advice regarding love relationships is, “Keep your husband well-fed and well-sexed.”
Ellen was puzzled by my slightly puffy body as the water and steam mingled between us.
We soaped ourselves in silence. Ellen’s gaze drifted to my breasts. I did not look at her body. I cannot recall the color of her pubic hair.
She asked, “What are those bruises from?”
I wanted to protect her, so I said, “You don’t want to know.”
Being perfect, she dropped it.
I was grateful, but I regret now that I didn’t tell her.
I wish I said instead, “From the best sex ever. I mean, at least there’s that. At least I got knocked up from sensational fucking, and not from getting raped or the first time I did it. You should not wait till you’re married to have sex, Ellen. Sex is fun.”
In the conversation we should’ve had, Ellen would angle a look of teenaged incredulity at me.
“Pregnant sex is fun, too. I guess it’s all the extra blood down there. That’s what the book says. Sounds kooky to me. But you should get on birth control. And don’t feel guilty about it.”