Little bubbles, formed on the surface of the lips, spilling from the throat as her body bobs in water. Foam, indistinguishable from cottony clouds of soap that wander on blue water, so that the whole bathtub makes a shining diorama of an angel floating through heaven. She looks forward, straight to the ceiling, and doesn't react when I caress her cheek or wipe hair away from her brow. Her chest heaves in hard wheezing breaths that only push water up to sputter about her lips then suck it back down.
Leaning over, my long hair folds over my neck to wind with hers in the water and I lick away the cotton candy frothing from her mouth. Our tongues touch between her teeth, hers is mostly listless and slimy with the contents of her stomach but it's still so warm, I expect to feel breath but there is only stagnant water, and then… a twitch of the tongue, it pushes on mine. I snap away to look her over in her watery coffin.
"Kacie?!" Her eyes can't seem to find purchase on anything in particular, but they move. Words escape her, but they're mouthed silently, though to covered up with ever growing retches of bile. Something particular about living creatures you learn when you're so cruel, they are extremely resilient, they weren't designed to die. They will fight it til the very last neuron flickers out. But this is good, she can feel me one last time.
My head drops down, my ear sliding against the still water, I will kiss all of her favorite spots before she goes to bed. The bottom of her chin, just above her collar, where the jaw is tender and plush as it makes it's meeting with the neck just above her collar. Her collar bone next, with thin skin that is easily warmed and a round bone that fits lips neatly. Her arm floats into mine, her warmth makes me light headed. I kiss her lowest rib, just below her breast. There's a scar there from a lashing I gave her the night she'd fallen asleep in my bed when I came home late. She was so tender for so long after that and apologized for the full next day, and days of her nights were sleepless with guilt, just for the crime of sleeping without telling me goodnight.
I kiss her belly- it's so sensitive she can be tortured by softly touching it. I can see her face in my mind, wincing at the feeling. A pulse in the water, her body flares with movement. I hear a gargling cough, and then for the first time in so many minutes, her voice. Shrill, squeaking.
"Wait! Where am I?! Where am…!" Her screams signal to me that it's time to put her down. My body moves atop hers, my waists over her chest, my thighs straddle her rib cage. I start to sit, laying my weight into her, she starts to sink into the water, reaching up and grabbing me anywhere she can, I give her an arm to latch onto for comfort, if nothing else.
"Wait! Wait. What's happening. Where are we?!"
"You're with me. You don't remember?"
"I don't know where I am. I'm sorry I forgot everything." She's crying.
"You're with me. Look at me. Think, what were we doing here?" She takes a moment to gather herself, and finally looks to the water and seeing it seems to place her back in the moment.
"Oh, no… No no, please! I don't want to go in again!"
"You'd do anything for me, you said?"
"But I don't wanna leave you, I wanna stay with you!"
"You are with me, we're together like this!"
"No, I don't wanna leave! Please! Let's stay together! Let me stay!"
Her pleads are replaced with the splashing of water and I feel her trying to to claw at me as she holds tight onto my forearm. She tries to lift herself to no avail, the weight of my body laid into her stomach keeping her head just below the waves. She struggles to hold her breath, but not for long, her writhing and pulling using up all her air. I feel her clutch me tight like a child hugging a plush doll for warmth when the first turbulent bubbles rise out of her mouth. And just like that, it becomes much tighter, and I worry she'll break my arm, but it would be worth it to see the sight. In the clear bath her mouth opens wide to suck in and push out water with no bubbles in sight. The frustrated, pained look in her eyes falls away into something peaceful, and her death grip on my arm relaxes into an ever softer hug until her forearms float away. Hyper ventilation is replaced with slow, deep gasps until finally her crystalline eyes stare sleepily forward and I get to sit and watch her in her stillness.