The bath water isn’t steaming hot, so I keep adding water every few minutes making fresh bubbles each time. Her feet float out away from her; she is completely relaxed and floats next to me. I drift thinking about a theory I heard in school about humans living and evolving in water, the Aquatic Ape theory. We do have nice plump buoyant skin like a manatee. My thoughts drift between mermaids, manatees and magic.
I imagine we are in the ocean floating at the surface Ella supported by me while she nurses. We are mermaids. We are mysterious and magical and wild, beholden to no one, we collect and wear pretty shiny pearls and shells and baubles because we like them not because we want to be liked. We are free and dangerous, we are safe and illusive. Our hair floats with the water in forty directions at once. We sing songs and then lean our faces low in the water to blow bubbles while breathing through our noses and giggling.
The suds are gone and the water is cool again. I add more hot and stir it around with my feet while Ella sings to herself. I think about the larynx and ability to control one’s breathing. We are the only land mammal to be able to do that. Though Ella is young and just learning language her ability to float and hold her breath is innate. She sometimes seems to breathe music, like a whale. The water is soothing; it eases my back while Ella plays. Its ionic charge is supposed to induce happiness. While I’m not sure of how that happens I am sure that our bath tub is the most magical place in the house.