1-2-3-4 → 2-1-3-4 → 3-1-2-4 → 4-1-2-3
The woman enters the bathroom and pulls down her skirt, smooth along her vase-like hips and thighs. She sits on the toilet and urinates, her arms cupped around her knees. She sits there awhile, tilting her head until it hovers above her legs—a difficult bowel movement? Soon she starts to shake . . . it becomes clear she is shaking with emotion. The window is open. A few minutes pass and she responds to an outside noise, a knock at the door, perhaps? She rips some loo paper, dabs herself then shimmies up her skirt: for a second her genitalia is exposed, buried in a shrub of ginger pubic hair. She dabs her eyes then checks her perfect face in the mirror, steadies her enormous rock of hair.
It’s her from the flat opposite: what is she doing here? Her bland shiny face, as though smeared in Vaseline, withers beside the soft skin of the woman, the lady. Both are in the bathroom now, talking. Now she’s sobbing again and her next door is consoling her, kneading her greasy fingers along the lady’s sensuous shoulders, muttering things. Manipulating? “He doesn’t love you. Why don’t you leave him?” Or: “You’d be better off without him.” Soon it makes sense: she’s a lesbian. “Why don’t I move in for a while? I’ll help you through it, honey, I’ll always be there for you, unlike him.”