I was 14 months pregnant, and weighing in at one hundred and eighty two pounds. I was standing in front of the swamp cooler, sweating, when the little man in the radio announced that it was 117° in the shade. Hell with this, I'm gonna stand under some cold water.
It was 1970, and with my first husband, I lived in a wee house. It was a small cottage, one of several in a row, built sometime in the late 4os. The bathroom was so tiny (3 by 5? feet) you couldn't open the door without hitting the toilet. And you had to sqeeeeeze past the sink to get into the shower. (I would shimmy in sideways, letting the bottom of my tummy drag across the rim of the sink.)
The fixtures were all new: the toilet, the sink, and the shower. The stall was 3 feet square, with shiny, stainless faucet knobs and a sprayer. And it was completely tiled in 3-inch squares of white ceramic, all the way to the ceiling. It was closed off with a turquoise, vinyl drape patterned with a checkerboard of yellow fishies and odd green plants that looked more like saguaro cactus than sea foliage. The floor was also new. A green linoleum that clashed enough with the shower curtain to make me sick to my stomach. I tried not to look at it as I side-stepped into the shower.
God, it felt sooo good - cold bliss running its fingers through my hair, cupping my breasts, and running its smooth palms over my round belly. I stood there for 15 minutes when it occurred to me, why stand when I can sit? So I let my back slide down the wall behind me, till my bottom felt the cool tile below. I pondered my feet for awhile, trying to remember what it was like to have toe knuckles and ankle bones....and the days when I still had an abdomen, and could reach under to wipe myself after tinkling, without dislocating my shoulder.
Ten more minutes of daydreaming, and I realized it was starting to feel a little chilly. Mission Accomplished. Time to get up, and get dressed.
Only I couldn't seem to get up. I tried to shimmy back up the wall. Not a chance. I tried to slide out of the shower sideways, but I couldn't lift my enormous ass up over the 3-inch lip at the bottom of the stall. I tried rolling over the lip, but couldn't maneuver my thighs over my tummy. Finally, I settled for turning off the damn water. Great. I can't reach the knob.
So I sat.
And I rehearsed what I'd say to my husband when he came home expecting dinner, only to find the cook beached in shower stall.
I reminded myself, it could be worse. My bladder could be full.