By Helen Yglesias
THE EVENING OF THE
day of Naomi’s operation, Jenny made the mistake of taking a bathinstead of a shower. She had always loved baths, running the hot water until it foamedwith good-smelling oily bubbles, resting there for a solid hour if it pleased her. And it did please her, even in the stained, too-small tub of her oceanfront room, until it came time toget up and out and she couldn’t. Get up or get out. She couldn’t. She couldn’t haul her body up and out of the tub, which, as if cursed, had been transformed into a loathsometomb holding her fast.Grabbing the sides of the tub and pulling herself erect didn’t work. Her body, thetub, the water were all too well oiled. She twisted, tried getting on one knee. She slippedand slid, hurting her back. She tried other positions, straining every muscle. Nothingworked. She would die in Miami after all, trapped in a bubble bath. She lay back,gathering strength, quieting her racing heart, forcing herself to think.If she emptied the bath water, ran fresh water over herself and the tub? Worth a try.Removing all traces of the oil took a long time. Impatient, she made several attempts to pull herself up during the process, but couldn’t. She laughed at the ridiculousness of her predicament, saw the scene as from the outside, then cried, sorry for this poor old bodystuck in a bathtub. In a tremendous last-ditch effort she managed to kneel, and withanother great effort stand up and miraculously step out of the tub. She felt as if she hadwon the lottery. Shaking, crying, laughing, she toweled, powdered, put on a gown, andgot into bed, more exhausted than she had ever been in her life.