Scum

11:32:00
As found in Volume 2, Issue 1


Scum by Leslie Hill

You see yourself reflected in the dirty bathroom mirror—a middle-aged woman, clutching underwear, jeans, and a t-shirt, naked, shivering,   finger marks red on your upper arms. You’re desperate for a shower but you won’t feel clean here no matter how much hot water there is. The toilet bowl is stained, the sink, counter, and mirror flecked with shaving stubble, and the shower grey with soap scum and clogged with hair. You pull on your clothes.

The rest of the flat is tidy enough but he obviously doesn’t do bathrooms. You open the cupboard under the sink. It’s all there: a toilet brush, sponge, cleaning liquids, a scrub brush, paper towels. You pull out everything you find and get to work. Quietly. It’s 2 a.m. and you don’t want him to wake up. You feel as if you’ll never sleep again. You’ll clean, and then you’ll shower.


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Leslie Hill taught high school in Toronto for twenty-five years before moving to Scotland to live in the Findhorn Foundation. Back in Canada she landed in Vancouver and obtained a certificate in Creative Writing from Simon Fraser’s the writers studio and an MFA from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts in Washington. Her memoir, Dressed for Dancing: My Sojourn in the Findhorn Foundation, was one of ten nominees for the Whistler Independent Book Awards, and her essays have been published in Pilgrimage, Shark Reef, What I Didn’t Know: True Stories of Becoming A Teacher, and the Globe and Mail.

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