Issue 217 (Gender, Sexuality): “IN THE BATHROOM”



May and Silas lie on the bed. May knows that it would be worthwhile having sex right now—to feel close to him, to remind him that she is not ordinary. Right now she would rather have sex with her substitute science teacher (he had that hair that she liked, it licked up the back of his neck) or the butch woman who had stared at her in the waiting room at the dentist after school yesterday. The staring had made her go red in the face and her vagina spasm in a way that Silas’s gaze hadn’t in months.


Silas turns his slender frame towards her. He is fine and delicate. I’m bored, he grins, let’s cuddle. She grins back and stretches out her arms to pull him in—her arms over his shoulders as always, her body bigger and darker than his will ever be. They kiss and then she pulls back just enough for him to pull back too. Do you want to, he asks, hot breath smelling of closed rooms and wet toilet paper. She pauses. Yes. His eyes coat her in beauty—when he is aroused she feels like he sees her better. She can toss her head and whinny, like a mare, and he will kiss her pulsing veins. They help each other to pull off their clothes: her undies, his exhausted boxer briefs. There is always a laugh here, when her undies are down around her ankles and she is shifting and twisting to fling them off. Sexy, he says.


Moans. Noises she never makes at any other time but that she consciously makes now. Light, quick breaths on his collarbone and light, quick bites of his stretched out neck skin. She doesn’t feel like it until his penis goes in. Then it does feel good, good, like she tells him.


May rolls over, taking Silas with her until he is underneath. She can feel the sweats of each of them slipping and creaking against each other.  She is provocative up here. Silas is beaded lightly all over and his eyes bulge. May resists an urge to reach out and gently move his hair from out of his eyes. This must be over quickly before the sheen wears off and he starts to see the hair on her arms, her pores. Silas tells her he loves her. She feels the warmth of the words in her fingers and her vagina aches just behind and below the labia when she looks down to see his light tuft and her dark one, their tufts, bouncing against each other.


Silas pulls her hips tight in against his own and heaves at her, the sound a bath drain slurping. May breathes out and pulls the sheet across her shave-cut legs. She will bring herself to climax later, will run the tap to quiet her sounds, in the bathroom.

word by Laura McPhee-Browne

From the author: “I saw this art piece as the collage of a girl going through the emotions of becoming a young adult.

This art piece brought back to me the insecurities, anxieties and play-acting aspects of being a young woman, and I decided to write a story that delved into the mind of a young woman trying to be ‘normal’ and to do ‘normal’ things, such as having satisfying, meaningful sex with her boyfriend, despite the ambiguity and complexity of such an act.
Through my story, I also wanted to get across how much pressure there can be on young women to be ‘nice’, to be ready and willing, and to be relaxed, and to sacrifice their own pleasure and well-being for the sake of men, when this is an impossible and unrealistic expectation. I believe that the various slogans in the art piece, ‘BEING NICE IS COOL’ and ‘DON’T FRET’ are the slogans that young women chant inside themselves, when really it should be okay to not be okay.”

colour by Jasmine Okorougo

Published by

Word and Colour

words inspired by colour

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