Bathrooms

Every time I take a shower or a bath I hear children screaming. Sometimes they are crying for me, but usually it is a baby screaming. It happens if a fan is on, the shower, or if the water is running for a bath. I am used to it, so I try to just ignore it.

When my second child was a baby there was six of us in a two bedroom apartment. It was very difficult. I was not allowed to shower unless all men were out of the house, lest I sully my reputation and thus that of my husband.

One night I found myself alone with the children, who had been cleaned, fed, and put to bed. I hopped into the shower as soon as I could. I heard the new baby cry. He had colic. I did not know if anyone had come in while I was in the shower, so I needed to dress before I exited the washroom. As I was doing so, the door was flung open and my husband was there, raging at me. About how as he was coming in he heard a baby crying and knew it was not his baby, since his wife was home with the children there was no reason for his kids to cry, they were not neglected, not sad. Then realized upon opening the front door that his second son was screaming and not being tended to. I was lucky he did not beat me that night. Maybe he did. I don’t remember.

After that I could not shower unless my husband was home, and no one else. It was hard to find those days. And I have heard the screaming every time, ever since. For five years.

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