The morning I grew up was an early riser.
I felt the nudge on the side of my bed, heard a soft whisper, and knew that Mary had come to wake me. Seven minutes later I was brushing my hair in front if the mirror, studying my own bright eyes, thinking about the day ahead and wondering in a dozen different directions.
Mary left me for a moment, I never knew why, and I went I to the bathroom to brush my teeth. To an eight-year old the room was enormous, a wash of white tile studded with bronze fixtures, the pedestal sink almost unreachable, the mirror taking up half the room and reflecting my pink nightgown back impossibly tiny.
Moist warmth clouded the air and I squealed with anticipation. My older sister, Moira, usually got to bathe first, but it looked like a bubble bath had been run for me especially. The most luxurious thing in the world was to sink beneath the billows of bubbles, falling down to the bottom of the tub so the froth came up to my chin. Sometimes I grew a beard for myself out of the bubbles, or sculpted a castle, or dove down deep til they piled on top of my head and then I burst out like a volcano and sprayed hot foaming water over the gleaming white tiles.
I rinsed my mouth and skipped to the bath, tearing off my nightgown and jumping onto the edge. The best way to get into a bath is not to canonball, but to creep your toe into the bubbles, ever so carefully. Inch by inch, drawing back a bit, then putting in the other foot. I sunk in one foot, then another, and jerked back with a giggle, back and forth for about a minute, splashing deeper each time, striking through the sudsy warm water.
Then my toe touched something soft. Not the bottom of the tub. Not a toy. I frowned and poked a little more, curious. I had no clue what it could be. I made a wide stroke with my foot and felt another thing. I yelled, jumping off the bath and running into the bedroom where Mary was picking an outfit from the closet. "Mary, Mary, Mary, come!" To give her credit, she didn't question or comfort. She came. "The bath, it's in the bath! In the water!"
Mary reached her hand through the bubbles, and I watched her face contract. Jerking out her arm, she hit the drain button. As the water gurgled away, a layer of foam was left coating the bottom of the tub, and Moira's body.
I never took a bath again.