Fiction Collective Two is an author-run, not-for-profit publisher of artistically adventurous, non-traditional fiction.

Refrigerated Music for a Gleaming Woman

by Aimee Parkison




When we were young and lived in the city, our first apartment was the size of a closet and once had been an actual closet, only recently converted into its own separate unit. The toilet had been installed inside the shower, located inside the makeshift kitchen, which was also the bedroom and the living room, as well as the dining room. The shower functioned as the kitchen sink, as well as the bathroom sink, located beside the stove. The television faced the shower. With this arrangement, you or I could take a shower and sit on the toilet while cooking dinner and watching pirated cable, all at the same time. Too convenient to be hygienic, the bed was also the kitchen table, which functioned as the sofa.

This design brought us closer during the early years of marriage, when there was no such thing as boundaries. By saving space and money, we came to know each other more intimately than most couples ever could imagine. That apartment, in spite of code violations, was the most romantic place we ever lived but also the cheapest and most illegal.

You loved me better because of the toilet in the shower.

You were more committed to our relationship because of the shower near the stove. The heat of our food cooking warmed us even when we were naked, dripping wet from washing our hair with dish soap.

In the illegal design, I found innovations that excited me, improving the quality of our sex lives. I could cook soup while you were sitting beside me, relieving yourself on the toilet as I watched you shower.

Then, there was the other door that opened onto no room. Nothing but a tiny window that faced a dance studio with a theater below. We could open that door and stick our heads out to watch ballet together, free of charge. If we listened hard enough, we could hear a woman howling. Her screams were music through traffic.