Word Choice features original works of fiction and poetry. Read “Fill This Vast Hole,” a short story by Ryan Call, selected by Fiction Editor Rosie Parker.
Consider the inner sanctum of the modern American bathroom, and you might begin to understand that mine is a holy story, porcelaneous and grouted, a story punctuated by the various toiletries scattered across the tile floor, which my father had earlier angrily swept from the grimy sink.
Imagine now a pale boy, adolescent and unconscious, bleeding from the nose, his parents gently transporting his body into the bathroom, struggling to carry it past the pedestal of the sink, over the cumbersome bowl of the toilet, and then undressing it of robe and towel, before wedging it into the steaming bathtub.
Such was my true punishment: to be trapped among all these plumbing fixtures, my parents ministering to my every spiritual need.