Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Age 10: Mr. Bubble

Taking a bath with two sisters was fun. There was the warmth of the water, and nothing was more special than pouring in those flakes from the pink box of Mr. Bubble.  The flakes were really light in the box; it wasn't a heavy box at all, and you really could not spill it.  When the flakes poured out, some of them stuck in the bubbles as an intact flake, just sitting there in a little piece that would not dissolve.

Perhaps this is where her interest in chemistry began.  She got into the tub and the bubbles departed, moving left and right to dispel their presence from her invasive steps. Once she sat in the water, the two sisters would be talking and yacking and throwing things.  They always wanted to play one game or another.  Hide toys under the water, fill the toys with water, or float them on top of the water.  She didn't want to do that.

If she was the first one in the tub, something she tried to be since the others were slower and not really aware of her goal, she could be the first on in the tub.  Once she sat down ever so carefully, she simply listened.  She closed her eyes and sat back, head on the cold and rounded edge of the tub.  Ahhh. Shhhh.  

Glistening.  Popping.  Microscopic pops.  So tiny, so minute were these pops, and there were so many of them that there must have been thousands and thousands of them popping in one accord, each off step yet still on beat.  Pop Pop Pop Pop Pop.  Mmmmm.  It was the only time she could be by herself to listen to the relaxing and mesmerizing sound.  Pop Pop Pop Pop Pop  Pop Pop.  It just went on and on and on, like a thousand stars in the mountain air on a fall night with the wind softly howling.  It was comforting and stimulating at the same time.

The sound reverberated in her brain, sending chemical release of encephalons and endorphins.  The morphine-like molecules relaxed her muscles, increased her pupil size, and increased her awareness of her surroundings.  It was as if she were hyperacute in her sensations, listening with wide eyes as thousands of little tiny bubbles danced in the waters, each one clamoring to be the next one to burst.  And over time, the wave of a mountain of a bubble diminished in size. The volume of the bubble bath decreased, and then sound slowed down. Pop  Pop  pop  pop.  Pop.  There were only a few bubbles left now, and the other two sisters opened the curtain and complained that there weren't any bubbles left.

She turned the hot water back on, as the bath temperature was not quite so cozy now.  The bubbles stopped making their Popping sound, the water was tepid, and it was time to restore the mood.  So down went more bubble flakes, tumbling down from the pink box, tumbling down and down and down.  Again, the bubbles were packed with little flakes of flakes of bubbles that did not have either the time nor the inclination to well, to form a bubble.  So bubbles in all stages of life stood still, while other bubbles ending their lives went Pop and pop and soon, once again, there were no bubbles left.

But she knew that all she had to do was to pour the flakes from the pink box back into the hot water, and splash them about a bit to make more mountains form.  It was a cycle, kind of like waking up in the morning and then going back to sleep at night.  The same steps repeated themselves again.  Night and day, morning and night, bath after bath until one day she took a shower instead. It was faster, and she did not have to share the shower with another sister, so she preferred it over time.  Over time, she forgot about the bubbles until one day when the Pop pop Pop pop Pop Pop echoed in some part of her brain again.

So she closed her eyes as she smelled the smell, heard the Pop Pop Pop pop pop again, and she smiled ever so slightly as she put a soft towel under her knees.  Then she leaned over to turn off the water as the little toddler stuck his hand in the bubble that carried the most volume.  Again and again, the toddler smashed the biggest bubble and seemed unaware of the thousands and thousands of Pop Pop pop pops that echoed in the room.

But she did not miss the sound, as she heard it all.  And when the bubbles faded and the water became more cool, she turned the water on again, letting hot water in.  And she poured more flakes from the pink box and watched as once again, the bubbles were saturated and the extra bubbles simply hung on to the biggest bubbles that existed as long as they could.

And she thought, "How fine is this, that her son gets to play in the same bubbles as I did when I was young."
And she poured more flakes into the warm water.

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