When Your Landlord Shuts Off the Water Without Telling You First Because He's Fixing a Leak in Apt. 43 Right Above You
And all you keep thinking about is the sex you're not having with people you aren't dating.
And all you keep thinking of is showers you never took with people you used to sleep with or never will. The way the water would have or could flow over their bodies. The droplet at the tip of the nose or eyelashes or nipples. Moments of beauty in a privileged act that would still be considered wasteful in many parts of the world. Even though it's only half the water you're using, because you're both there. Or would be. Or could be.
All you can think of is how he never emails you of his own volition and how she never texts you without being nagged. You know that telling them the truth was the right thing to do because telling the truth is the more interesting thing to do because truth causes conflict and sparks and feelings far more than lies do--unless said lies are found out, in which case they become the truth.
She lied to you for months on end. He doesn't lie to you, as far as you know, but he avoids topics and he comes round and round to other topics and you wonder whether there's a subconscious truth he will never admit to there. There is no such truth with her. You are not in her thoughts. You have come to terms with this. You wish you were in his, not as a shower-buddy, but as a friend. A fellow.
When your landlord texts you back you remember again that he's not your landlord, but your super, your Super Ahmed, full head of hair and family and church on Sundays like clockwork who says hello and how are you but can't type very well. But he tells you the leak is fixed and the water is back on and you luxuriate in your shower, alone, shampoo/conditioner combo in your hair, straining to undo your tangles, and you remember why you rarely take showers with people.
You like the privacy.
Ilana Masad is a queer Israeli-American fiction writer and book critic. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times, McSweeney's, Joyland, StoryQuarterly, the Washington Post, the Guardian, LA Times, and more. She is the founder and host of The Other Stories, a podcast featuring new, emerging, and established fiction writers.