There was a steaming bath tub, almost large enough to swim in, flanked by decorative marble swans and an enormous urn holding an overflowing bunch of lilies. He slowly eased into the water, his first bath in a month, nervous even to be hesitating at one of Annette’s orders, though she seemed unruffled. She was rolling up the sleeves of her navy blouse, up to her forearms, smiling her small smile. He saw that as she periodically did her hair colour had changed, though this time only a few tendrils of green and chocolate brown escaped the neat confines of a charcoal grey and black scarf.
Hot water soaking in, he didn’t resist as she took his head in her hands, gently sloshing water over his scalp. He felt her palm laden with something cool and viscous, a shampoo that she worked into the short regrowth of his hair. She soaped and rinsed him, using a rough white wash cloth to scrub his shoulders and down his back and belly, massaging and rubbing.
At her instruction he stood up, and she did the same to his buttocks and legs, turning him so she could reach. Splashes of water stained the front of her dress, turning the indigo darker in splotch patterns over her breasts. She left his crotch alone, but the washcloth found its way into the split between his buttocks before Annette told him to sit down again.