Elle sighed and hid the hair clip back under her shirt. She went into the bathroom and tore something up then went to the kitchen and got a cup. “Come,” she said while returning to the bathroom. He did as he was told. “First, wash face. Second, brush teeth. Third, toilet. Understand?” He nodded.
“Head down,” she said pointing to the sink and turned the water on. He did as he was told. “Cold water,” she said before lathering his face a few times. She got the towel behind her and reached up to his face, gently dabbing his face with a corner of the towel. “Her face is still expressionless,” he thought to himself. “Does she feel more anger or regret?”
She rinsed the cup under some water then filled it up. Then she washed the toothbrush fresh from its package and rinsed that too, then put some toothpaste on it. “Aside from her face, why do these mundane tasks look like a performance? Why am I using ‘mundane?’” he thought to himself. He did everything she told him to do. She closed the toilet and told him to sit. She bent down, showed her teeth, and he emulated. She opened her mouth, he emulated, and she carefully brushed his teeth. She got up and went to the sink. “Come,” she quietly said to let him rinse his mouth. Then she took the towel behind her and dabbed his mouth. “Did I really see a tiny smile?” he asked himself. “I did. She’s playing with me now.”
She held up three fingers and asked him, “Can you do this yourself?” He nodded. “Good,” she said with relief. “Are you sitting or standing?” “Standing.” She tied the top corners of the towel on his back above his hips. “Why?” he asked. “Look up,” she replied. He saw several cameras that were still on the ceiling, some were at an angle while one was directly over the toilet. She closed the door with her on the opposite side.
She was looking at the bed for a minute until she heard her name called. “What?” she asked. “I can’t do this myself,” he said sounding a little embarrassed. “Really?” she asked not believing him. “Really,” he affirmed. She turned the doorknob but did not go in right away, instead asked, “Are you still wearing clothes?” “Yes. What kind of question is that?” “A smart question.”
She slowly opened the door and entered. “What’s wrong?” she asked. With the back of his hand, he lifted the towel and shirt and showed her his belt buckle. She knelt down and tried to open it and it did not budge. She tried again, and still did not move. She stood behind him and tried to open it and still it did not budge. “I will not be defeated by a belt buckle,” she said to herself, and used the last of her energy reserve, and it opened. She slid it all the way out, unbuttoned and unzipped his jeans, released them, then closed the door with her on the other side.
She went pulled the curtain up from behind her bed and heard her name called again. “What’s wrong?” “I can’t do it myself.” “Really?” she asked again not believing him. “He’s definitely lying,” she said to herself. “If I were in his position, I could do it. If only I knew how to say this in Mandarin.” “But it would be too crude for a lady like yourself, right?” her other self reminded.
“Really,” he confirmed. She went to the door and turned the doorknob again, but did not enter right away. “Are you still wearing clothes,” she asked. “I’m wearing what you last saw me in,” he replied. She slowly opened the door and entered. “What’s wrong?” she asked. “I can’t do it myself,” he said, trying to keep a straight face.
“Take a look,” she said a little frustrated. She made her thumb and index finger perpendicular, placed his arm on her thumb, then made her other thumb and index finger perpendicular, and placed her thumb under the same arm with her fingers extending slightly upward. He looked at her like he did not understand her demo while trying to keep a straight face, so she lowered his arm downward to the toilet to ensure he understood. He still looked like he did not understand what she was conveying, but he was smiling like he knew exactly what she was conveying. “What do you not understand?” she asked a little frustrated.
He lifted the towel and pointed at his boxers with his thumb.
“Really?” she asked, not believing him again, so she gave him another demo. His arm was on one of her thumbs, while her other thumb made a hook, and strategically placed that hand under his arm. “Did I answer your problem?”
He laughed, wondering how she knew all this, then said, “Clean hands. My hands are not clean.”
Her face softened and blushed. She took a few squares of toilet paper and wrapped them around his arm, then let it fall into the toilet. “I can’t do that myself,” he said. “It would fall.”
She took his hands and quickly examined them, then she took several squares of toilet paper. She pushed him back a couple of steps then stood in front of him, resting his arm on her shoulder. She placed the first square on the back of her hand, and pressed that against his arm, then slowly brought the rest of the squares around his arm. When it reached the other side, she alternated her hands pressing against his arm then bringing it to the other side. It was more difficult to get it to the other side from underneath, but it could be done, so she said, “I’ll do this for you,” and dropped those sheets into the toilet. She moved out of his way and got a few more squares.
He laughed like she was joking. He stopped laughing and saw her serious and tired face waiting for him. “I’m tired and I want to sleep.”
He lowered the front of his boxers, and quietly said, “Ready.” She stood behind him, gently and slowly sliding her fingernails against the front of his thighs, with the toilet paper tagging along. She felt her fingernails reached his boxer’s band, so she adjusted the toilet paper to the left and right, then snugly wrapped it around from the base to the tip, then back to the base. “Done,” she softly said, holding the two ends of the toilet paper with her thumb and forefinger. “Thanks,” he whispered and grinned. When he was done, she released it and quietly left the bathroom.
She took out the hair clip and looked at it again. “I’ll give him credit for having an eye for jewelry,” she said to herself as she stared at the hair clip, tilting it so the stones would sparkles in her eyes.
A couple of minutes later he said, “Elle, I need some help. I can’t button and zip up my pants.” Pause. “Elle.” He did not hear her come, so he decided to leave his jeans and see why she was not coming. He saw her sitting on the floor leaning against the side of the bed, her head was down. He quietly walked over and did an Asian squat beside her. “She’s asleep,” he said to himself. He carefully put his hand on the side of her soft white face, his thumb caressing her rosy cheek, and finally saw how tired her eyes were. “Even the dark circles under her eyes are tired,” he thought. Her eyes slowly opened. She felt something warm on the side of her face and took it off. It was a hand she recognized. She looked at him and remembered that he was in the bathroom a moment ago. “Good, you’re done,” she quietly said with exhaustion in her voice. “Get on the bed.” She yawned while he got on.
“Why aren’t you wearing pants?” she asked with some confusion.
“I couldn’t button and zip them up so I left them in the bathroom,” he said simply and demonstrated.
“Stand,” she tiredly ordered and pointed at the floor as she went to the bathroom. She slipped the belt out, and hung it on the doorknob. Then she took out his keys, phone, and wallet and placed them next to the TV. Then came to him and placed his jeans on the floor. He stepped in them. She slowly pulled them up, rested the towel on her arm, and straightened his boxers into his pant legs without hesitation. Then buttoned and zipped up his jeans. Untied the towel, resting it on her shoulder.
“Sit,” she tiredly ordered pointing at the bed as she walked to the bathroom. She returned and put her hands in front of her, palms down, and moved them horizontally apart. She saw that he did not understand her, so she got on the bed and lied on the bed and said, “Down.” He smiled, kicked off his shoes, and gladly lied down next to her. She got off the bed. She tapped his knee and pointed at a spot on the bed close to the wall. She ordered another adjustment, this time closer toward the edge of the bed.
She held his wrist, bent it up, and pointed at the window. She moved to the foot of the bed and showed it with her hand. She put pressure on her palm up against the window. He nodded. “I’ll say, ‘one, two, three,’” then she demonstrated that she would lift the edge of the mattress up and took his hand and pointed it in between the mattress and box spring. “Why?” he asked. She held up his hands and pointed an end of the chopsticks near her eye. He nodded.
She positioned herself then looked up at him. “One, two, three,” and lifted the edge of the bed. He only rolled because his other hand was leaning against the window. He was unstable, so she rested the edge of the bed on one of her shoulders and hand, and placed his hand in under the mattress and slowly released the mattress. She climbed up on the bed, took the curtain, and tied his arm and wrist. He tested it and the chopstick ends could not reach his eyes. She gently pulled her blanket over his body, up to his collar bone, and softly ordered him to sleep.
She went to turn off the light when she heard, “Elle, will you kiss me goodnight?” he asked with a bit of hope. She got his phone and typed, “I’ll kiss you when you deserve it.” He read it and his face saddened. “He’s trying to guilt you with his sad face,” she said to herself. “I know, that’s why I’m ignoring him.” She put the phone back on the counter and quietly went to the bathroom. She returned a few minutes later and laid on the floor. “Why aren’t you sleeping on the bed with me?”
“No talking,” she tiredly ordered. “They can hear you.”
He wanted to ask more questions, but she was already asleep.