Friday, 4 April 2014


At a recent Romance Writers meeting we were set an exercise in symbolism using soap, and all it's components, as the symbol. Below is my contribution:

It had her taken an enormous effort of willpower to walk out of his flat and hurry home.
 The hot shower made the cold walk, without a coat, worth the effort. The water cascaded down her back, its heat coursing through her veins, warming her body.  She titled her chin, leaning her head back, letting the water run over her scalp.
She reached for the soap in the recess and cupped it in her hands. It’s smooth, rounded surface reminded her of his back muscles and their lovemaking. She’d stroked his back and made the noises he liked to hear: whimpers of appreciation, mews of delight. At times she wondered at his lack of commitment, his reluctance to say ‘I love you’ -  nevermind a proposal of marriage.  This seemed further away than ever after tonight. Was he using her body? She shivered; unable to bear the idea his attraction to her could be purely physical. She pushed the idea down into the dark recess from where it had surfaced. Surely he loved her?  He must, because you only hurt the one you love. This is what the song said, and seemed to be an accepted opinion among her friends.

She rubbed her thigh, building lather and the soap slipped from her fingers to hit the floor of the shower with a thud. One corner had been flattened, its symmetry ruined, yet it retained its pleasant perfume and usefulness. Could this be her? Pleasant and useful -  with nice curves in the right places.
They’d been to the movies and then eaten a quick meal at the local Indian Takeaways. The plastic forks refused to stab into the meat, bending at the points. Even the vegetables, chilli-hot and spicy, slid off the short plastic prongs. Some fell on her white dress.  He’d been annoyed at her for squealing. Well, the dress was new and the curry powder would leave a bright yellow smear. Such a small thing really, yet it seemed to set the tone for the rest of the evening.

He‘d laughed when she said she’d forgotten her coat, but tonight he didn’t put his arm around her.  She suggested a takeaway coffee for the walk to his flat. He sucked his teeth. He did this when cross.  When he muttered he’d run out of cash she offered to pay, but he wouldn’t wait and she didn’t fancy being left behind. She should have gone home then.

She rubbed the soap across her ribs and winced. There would be a bruise. Tonight, for the first time, he’d hit her. She lathered her hair and the soap ran into her eyes, stinging them. Even the nicest of soap needs lye to make it set and cure. He seemed to be the same: an attractive, smooth mover, except for caustic element that lurked inside his nature.
She rinsed the soap out of her hair. He wouldn’t have another opportunity. She’d glimpsed the evil through a crack in his beautiful surface.