He washes his hands as he has a thousand, hundred thousand times before, but this time wonders: where does the water come from, where does it go? Oh, it comes from the reservoir, of course, and goes to the sewer, but he wonders about the exact why and how of it: at this moment with his children tucked into bed and his wife in the den filing his doctor’s bill (punch biopsy, level 3 cytology, $3500,) it seems very important, this mystery of water. An in pipe, an out pipe, hidden by the vanity? He is an insurance actuary, what does he know about plumbing, but he knows he’d paid for a vanity, not sure what it was (of course he knew about vanity, but a vanity, a bathroom vanity, stumped him, in the same way “pagetoid spread” sounded like something from a magazine, perhaps a pictorial in Newsweek, instead of a diagnosis) but he’d learned about bathroom vanities and now he rocks the wood stand to see if it will pull away from the wall, revealing the pipes, but it holds fast. He kneels and opens the vanity door, pulls out toilet paper and boxes of Band-Aids and an enema (an enema?) and a box of feminine hygiene something he doesn’t want to know about, and he finds a pipe at last, this is where the water either comes from or goes, but he does not know which, and there, knees aching against the cold tile, he cries because he will never know.
The Mystery of Water
art by Brandon Wicks