The husband, who brings a beer into the shower, soaps his hand and masturbates, thinking about a woman he saw at the supermarket that day, when he noted to himself, Think of her the next time you masturbate. As he imagines her, he tries to crop out the image of the toddler in her grocery cart and hones in on the yoga pants and the small flank of flesh exposed on the bottom of her back when she stretched for a box of Cheerios. But he can’t chase off the child, or those fucking Cheerios, and he stops masturbating and drinks the rest of his beer in the shower.
A shower beer reminds him of a Saturday morning in college. He had returned from a girl’s dorm room—a girl whose last name he never knew, and whose first name he now forgets—but for three dizzying hours they devoured each others’ bodies, suck at each other’s flesh like they were searching for nourishment. Twenty years later, he can almost remember her body, her firm curves, but not quite. But he remembers going back to his apartment and stepping into a hot shower with a cold beer for the first time. We always remember the first time.
Before they had their own children, he’d shower with his wife, although never bringing a beer with him. They’d soap each others’ backs, the elusive landings of flesh that their own arms never seemed to reach. They’d make love standing in the bathtub, beneath jetting streams of hot water. While trying not to orgasm before her, he’d close his eyes and think about the Red Sox batting order. Sometimes now, he will still touch himself in the shower, thinking about his wife and the way she would lightly bite the palm of his hand when she came, an unmistakable signal to him that said, Go ahead and finish then grab yourself a beer.
Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester, New Hampshire. His most recent books include Hangover Breakfasts (Bottle of Smoke Press in 2012), Sort Some Sort of Ugly (Marginalia Publishing in 2013), and My Next Bad Decision (Artistically Declined Press, 2014). A collection of fiction titled Almost Christmas will be released in the summer of 2017. He writes a baseball column for Dirty Water News in Boston. For more information, visit his website:http://www.nathangraziano.com/