We’ve taken to sucking bathwater from our washcloths, siphoning the cloth-sweetened water through the gaps in our clenched teeth. My sister says it’s like the dentist’s air gun with the plastic wand attachment that sucks up spit from our bony gum lines. When this gets old, fistfuls of liquid are wrung from the cloths and the squares placed flat upon the surface of the water to float. Under water, four corners are tucked in to make a parcel. Corners pinched in one hand, the other hand forms them into a stem, forcing air into the top of the parcel: a terrycloth balloon. Now we pretend we’re friends. We ask the other sweetly if they would like a lollipop, skillfully bringing out the cloth from the water. We bat our eyes as we smush the parcel into the other’s face. A whop of wet air splits open on contact.
The washcloths are folded into strips, slippery and dense as seat- belts. Tomorrow we’re allowed to play in the car. We’ll sit in the front seat and wrap the belts into wallet-sized packets with metal buckles in the center to unveil to each other as gifts. We will slowly uncoil them and then begin wrapping them tightly around our necks, just to see.