by Emma Ballantine
The soap slipped from Persephone’s hand as she tried to wash. It was difficult with a circle of art gallery patrons staring at her, and more than once she lost the slippery thing underneath the surface. There were not going to be enough bubbles – that much was becoming clear. She scrabbled in the bottom of the bath, painfully aware that the more soap dissolved in the bath, the quicker the foam would disappear. Worse still, the heat was being slowly exhaled into the cavernous vaults of the gallery, and goose-bumps were beginning to mar the smooth sheen of her shoulder-blades which, after all, was the part of the reason she was there in the first place. Across the gallery floor the much-lauded Irving Gallant was eating canapés and explaining her. She shot him a look which he laughed at, popping an olive into his mouth. Somebody took a photograph.
At last, when every bubble and every canapé had vanished, Irving shook his last hand of the day, posed for his last photograph, and came over with a towel.
“I love you”, he said, by way of reconciliation, “but a bet’s a bet”.
Emma Ballantine is a third year English undergraduate who writes when she should be working.