hilary & jackie (that’s hilary on the left, you can tell by the way she wears her washcloth) have been hanging around our green “rain forest” marble bathroom (they prefer the term, toilette, mais oui, as they have certain standards to maintain) for a little over five years now. their entrance into our lives is not that unusual for a pair of 100% spun cotton bath towels; we had our ‘colors’ (we took a marble tile with us to bed, bath & beyond) & over the course of a half hour discussed the various merits of matchy-matchy (thank you, nina garcia!) or whether we should choose a contrasting palette (we settled for somewhere in-between.)
it wasn’t an easy decision, but hilary (the more outgoing of the two sisters) put forth a compelling case (i would have used the qualifier, very, but i am trying not to shade this testimony, rather i am reporting the facts as they have been relayed to me.) she carefully, but with a certain flourish that was hard to ignore, explained the relative benefits of their pile; how they had been woven, what looms had been used & how they had carefully been folded to expose their best features here on this shelf at this very moment in time in laguna ______, ca.
of course, there is the whiff of third-world underpaid, overworked, child-labor-ish hovering over their ‘made in india’ label (they are categorized ‘grand-patrician’ which harkens back to the raj, don’t you agree?) however, we chose to ignore those implications (after all, what are we to do when so much of our everyday household goods are made for pennies in countries not our own? price does have its price, no?)
but the stories they tell of their use : there’s the mother-in-law (as if that were true, the in-law part) who carefully re-folds them into thirds, not wanting to disturb the ‘look’ in the bathroom (even though when she visits, there is a bit of a tornado going on en suite) & the occasional overnight guests who “ooh” & “aah” over the facilities with its roman tub & atrium window open to the canyon below (not to worry about ‘over exposure’, there is a discreet privacy fence & people of a certain height may enjoy the view as they lather their hair or stand under the rain shower enjoying the sluice of warm water cascading down their otter-sleek bodies.)
no one in the household ever uses them & more often than not, they reside on their towel bar, folded, untouched & washed only before company arrives; they are to the denizens nothing more than decoration as bath sheets are the norm otherwise. but, there are times when they receive much scrutiny & their wales & ribs & color give rise to all sorts of fantasies, as if they were being ‘read’ like smoke or tea leaves or entrails. & someone, speaking in tongues & rich with the muse coursing through them, stops & for a moment contemplates their homely existence.