1-2-3-4 → 2-1-3-4 → 3-1-2-4 → 4-1-2-3
The lady, bathing the boy, stroking his hair. She really is so saint-like, so precious. To stoop to kid-watching when she could be out there, ruling the world, shows a kind heart. She speaks to the boy, asking him questions while soaping his back with a sponge. He shakes his head at most of them. She rubs her hands on his chest and lifts him out the bath, into a towel. Drying him off, she grabs a tube of ointment and massages his bruises. “You really are a clumsy little boy on that bike,” she might be saying.
The child’s body trembles—is he cold?—as she rubs the ointment along his chest and pulls down his pyjama bottoms. With the back of her hand she strokes his little chap: perhaps he bruised himself down there too. Good to see she’s not afraid of rubbing the delicate places. Now she’s lowering her head and . . . is she kissing the little boy’s? Is she putting it into her? Using her tongue to? Well. That’s certainly unexpected. But I’m sure she’s only trying to soothe his pains, that’s why he’s crying: he’s moved.