soapWhen the Soap Runs Out

by Ashley Lamb-Sinclair

When I started eating the soap, I thought maybe I’d been in here too long. But it’s funny what you can get used to. At first I ate nothing; that was kind of the point. You do get hungry though, so I went for the toothpaste. Seemed like the best option, and it worked out pretty well for a while. Well, until it was gone.

Best thing is I’ve never looked better. Sometimes I stand up on the edge of the tub and get a good look at myself in the vanity. I kind of like the way my elbows and knees look crammed into the tub, chicken bones tossed into an empty trashcan. It reminds me of some kind of new age art, a piece with found objects hot glued to it, entitled Bones and Feathers: A Meditation. That’s how I wanted it anyway, bones and feathers. I guess that’s what I always had in mind.

It started out simple enough—I just wanted to get away from her. Seriously, Meredith, enough is enough. You’re not a kid anymore.

She stood there for a while, I think, at least I kind of remember it that way. Talking like that through the door. I do remember taking those last laxatives too, the ones I hid between the stacks of towels in the linen closet. Didn’t take long for it to start, and between my silence and the shitting sounds, she finally got the point.

The laxatives ran out pretty quick. Started to make my belly hurt, to tell you the truth. That’s when I went for the toothpaste. It actually worked out pretty well. Don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner. Really I could have made more progress earlier on, before here, if I had. But, shoulda, woulda, coulda, right? That’s what that teacher used to say. What was her name? Connor? Brooks? Doesn’t matter. Wonder what she would think of me now, what with her droning on about wasted potential. Hell, I’ve started a new art here, a movement even.

Really, if I’m telling the truth, it was all an accident. I don’t know what happened, how long it’s been. Don’t know where my mom went. Could be worse though.

When the toothpaste ran out, I started drinking the mouthwash. I really had to pace myself with that. Passed out a couple of times. I’d wake up on the cold tile sweating, and the pain in my stomach liked to have killed me. Didn’t know what it was at first, but once I figured it out, I went for the soap. Had to. I was careful though, studied the mirror constantly to make sure it wasn’t a problem. I tried for the door again at some point, first time in a long time really. Still locked. Oh well, it’s like that teacher used to say, You can’t control everything. But I’m in control now. When the soap runs out, it’s on to the toilet paper.


Ashley Lamb-Sinclair spends her time writing fiction and stealing ideas from the talented young writers she teaches in her high school English class. She currently lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her bearded husband, two feisty daughters, an angry chihuahua and a sad bassett hound.
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