Bath Watch


by Igor Ursenco

Translation from Romanian by AC Clarke and Laura-Cristina Badea, MTTLC student

pentru versiunea română click aici

After watching one of the usual fun episodes of the American TV series, starring the remarkable Pamela Anderson and David Hasselhoff in their wannabe-cinema stars youth, George and Maria, arm in arm, but for different reasons and motives, headed towards the bed in the small bedroom that still doubled as a living-room, because of the lack of space.


‘Do you know what day it is today, Geo?’ the woman asked, while trying to keep up with him in the narrow hallway.


‘ Our anniversary, darling?’ George asked as they were walking, without turning his head.


‘ I promise you, this isn’t an ordinary day.’


‘And I’m sure it is. What I do find out of the ordinary is that you aren’t calling me George… as usual.’ While uttering the last words, the man turned his head automatically.


‘ Stop acting like a fool, Geo… Today is the twelfth anniversary of our marriage… Had you forgotten?’


‘ How could I forget? It’s been twelve years since we’ve been going through our days and nights with the Baywatch lifeguards.’


‘ Have you forgotten that it was you who set the wedding date for the day you knew they were going to start broadcasting the series?’


‘ Yeah, and what have we got for special on this occasion?’


‘ I’ve got a bottle of champagne ready’, said Maria, grabbing him by the bulge in his trousers, ‘ and here…’ , she said, pointing to the area where her breasts were supposed to be: ‘… what have we got here?’. Because George was unwilling, or unprepared to enter his role, she continued meaningfully: ‘ two oranges, of course.’


‘ Well, Maria, your breasts… how can I tell you… they look more like two prunes… the kind they import…’


‘ So that’s why you are always watching other women… with boobs hanging down to the ground.’


What do you mean?’


‘ You know very well who I mean!’


‘ Who, Pamela?’


‘ Yeah, that slut Pamela Anderson, who else!’


‘God, what a pair of breasts on … a real woman!’


‘ But you, you sucker, have you seen David’s pecs?’


‘ David who?’


‘ You know very well that I can’t pronounce that strange name… But you know George, that doesn’t change my opinion…’


Pissed off, the man went out onto the balcony, which was on the ninth floor, to smoke a cigarette. In the difficult time when they were looking for a place to rent, George had had to choose between an apartment on the ground floor and one on the ninth floor. He opted for the latter, hoping he would  get to the “seventh heaven” that way. That was when Maria had enjoyed the most romantic moments of their married life. But it turned out to be iron rations: the sky in the real world was such a letdown: it seemed that out of the thousands of stars emblazoned on the heavens, the heaviest had fallen to earth.


While wistfully gazing at the special effects created by the whorls of cigarette smoke, George suddenly noticed Maria come out of the building. The tiny, delicate hand of his wife (lawfully wedded at the altar of the little cathedral in town) carried their only suitcase, blue and worn at the edges, which they had paid for with the money that was left after their wedding twelve years before. George threw the unfinished cigarette directly at the head of a neighbor (who was hurrying towards the main entrance, basket in hand), and headed straight to the door of their apartment. The symbolic, untouched fruit and the cold, unopened champagne stood on the table, like funeral monuments. But a tiny note, with torn edges, caught his attention. The scrawled letters were uneven, but suited the message they were meant to convey: ‘ Goodbye, Geo. I am off to my mother’s. This time it’s for good. Please, don’t come looking for me. Maria.’


Thoughtfully, he scratched his forehead, then the back of his neck. Then he did the same thing with his legs. First one thigh, then the other. Suddenly, he thought he heard the repetitive, barely perceptible noise of running water. Perplexed, he noticed it came from the bathroom to the side of the corridor. At first he wanted to call Maria’s name. But realizing he had just seen her walk away from the building, he cursed under his breath. A few moments later, he was laughing softly. Then, embarrassed, he blamed this overwhelming surge of feelings and dim presentiments on not being used to being alone, without Maria’s tangible presence.


But the noise in the bathroom was becoming too unbearable to look for logical explanations.  George silently drew nearer, and placed his ear to the door. Then he went to the kitchen, and returned slightly less determined, but carrying a bread knife behind his hunched back.


Determined to end the mystery, he pushed the door handle down firmly. But, since the door proved to be open already, he was not able to stop himself falling forward until a sharp pain in his leg told him he had fallen against the uneven rim of the bath tub.


Not even the intense misery of breaking up with Maria could diminish the shock which paralyzed him for several minutes: their conjugal tub, tiny and used by many tenants over the years, was where the American actress Pamela Anderson herself was soaping her divine (though surgically enhanced) breasts.


‘ What are you staring at, silly?’, the movie diva asked him with asperity, ‘ do my breasts seem like exotic fruit to you?’


‘ Well… I thought…’ trying to hide the knife behind his back, her ardent admirer tried to find an excuse: ‘I just wanted to…’

‘… it’s ok. What did you say your name was?’


‘ George, or Geo. Whichever you prefer, Ma’am.’


‘ Of course, Geo, what else… Listen, Geo, it really is me, Pamela. Pa-me-la An-der-son the actress!!! And unfreeze now. Bring that champagne now…’


On auto pilot, George headed to the apartment door. But Pamela was looking at him : ‘Hey, where are you going?’


‘ I thought you said something about champagne…’


‘… the cold champagne on the table, Geo.’


After unequivocally gesturing with her bare arm, inviting him to the foamy bath tub, the woman in front of him continued in an irresistibly seductive way:


‘ One more thing, Geo…’


Instinctively, he drew nearer to the bath tub. Without a word, Pamela Anderson intimated that he should lean his head towards her. When George raised his head his ear suddenly felt very heavy: his entire auditory space was filled with the inflexions of her sultry voice, like a celestial symphony:resonating in a cathedral dome,


‘… join me while the water is still warm!’


Bath Watch

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