Bathroom Talk

A beautiful woman with a small dog, small breasts, foreign accent, stops me in the Public Garden, and says: “Excuse me, do you know the bathroom?” And I wonder if the locative case in her native tongue is absorbed by the accusative case. And I wonder if the tongue is employed in a first kiss in a beach town of her native seashore, the waves lapping at our feet, as I look down in the general direction of her urinary tract and feet, and say: “Yes. I know the bathroom very well.” She smiles hopefully, gives me her great big brown expectant eyes, and says: “Yes?” And I feel a delicious pressure building in my chest, and in her chest, and in the air between us, a kind of referred pressure from her bladder or her colon, a kind of grammatical pressure from her tongue and my tongue which are meeting here in my favorite context: ‘bathroom talk’ my mother called it, banishing it from the house, and banishing us from the house when we couldn’t stop laughing at the thought, couldn’t stop crooning at the sound, and the sense, and the nonsense, and the signifiers, and the signified, as we went about our business, the business of the body, the business of being in a body in the world, a world that preferred to keep that business secret, except for the children and the dogs and a few banished grown-ups. “Yes, yes,” I say, and I hold out my hand to her, pointing with my other hand at the gold dome of the State House, where I’m headed myself, I tell her, because it’s the best-kept secret in the Commonwealth that the cleanest, most exquisite public toilets in the city flush and gleam there, flash and yearn there, there in that stately place, for patriots and foreigners alike. Though a dog, even a small dog, wouldn’t be allowed in. No.