S. Rabbani: literary fiction, instructional articles, essays & translations
[home]         [about]         [links]

Soap

By Sahand Rabbani


SHE HAD NOT LASTED nearly as long as her seven sisters that had preceded her. She was in her final days. Her once creamy ovular definition had dissolved into an amorphous disk. The brand's engraving had long ago been eroded. She was now an anonymous glob whose frugal benefactor used her almost grudgingly, too conservative to discard her but also yearning for a new bar with fine edges and girth.

The best she could do now was to hope: once her diameter diminished to the point where she would be entirely unusable, she would be grafted into the next bar in much the same way that she was once the surrogate host of another.

Her story, though, was by far the most exciting of those who preceded her. She had been the final spawn of a pack of eight that had served to sanitize for nearly four months. Unlike her sisters though, this bar had seen more than just her young maiden. She had seen her newfound string of visitors.

She had learned, in time, each of their idiosyncrasies. One of these visitors had always insisted on returning her to the ceramic soap holder, but, poorly designed as the soap holder had been, off of it she would slip without exception. Every time he had picked her up from the floor of the tub and had tried again, incredulous that such a simple and passive contraption could fail so consistently. After this second attempt, he would place her where he had found her, on the rim of the tub opposite the showerhead. Indeed, he had been the most meticulous of the three regular guests, the precision and brevity of his ritual suggestive of some sort of military discipline. He had been the first of the three and, she would learn only by comparison, the most thoughtful.

The other two had been abrasive and sloppy. They had left her here and there, behind the shampoo, on the floor of the tub, on the sink outside. Her maiden had searched for her more than a few times. Once, she had almost resigned to her demise—nearly opened a new pack—but as she reached for the cupboard below the sink had found her hopelessly discarded on the floor mat.

Those two had no regard for her delicate pearly surface. They would leave their shed hair to embed in her as she hardened after use, like unwanted bugs that pollute tree sap as it solidifies into amber. Only when her maiden visited would the hair wash out to restore the smooth creamy exterior, but a layer would have been lost, bringing her closer yet to expiry, a constant reminder of her mortality. She had appreciated the way the first guest had tenderly traced her letters before her branding had been smoothed away by the shower's torrent like jagged rocks rounded by the ocean's waves.

Time hastily spurred the morning of her final service. It was her maiden, thankfully, and not the uncharitable guest du jour, who lifted her from the rim of the tub. With one last traversal of her body, one last dance, she foamed and thinned and could no longer persist: she flaked into two pieces of nearly equal size. One piece followed the current into the silver drain and through the pipes of the subterranean river Styx. The other survived to attach onto the first virgin soap of the next pack, an ambassador to the new brand, carrying with her the legacy of her sisters, her maiden, and the three ephemeral visitors.









Copyright © 2017 Sahand Rabbani
All rights reserved.