Before he left he carved his name in the bath soap - whether as an act of vandalism or as a souvenir I couldn't tell. I only discovered it after he was gone, stepping into the shower the next morning, the four offending letters gouged deep into the ivory colored bar. Startled, I turned the soap over. The bastard had carved the other side as well.
I considered throwing the soap away, of course. But it seemed too easy, too much of a capitulation. So I decided to use it, thinking, what harm could it do? It was just a schoolboy prank after all, this soap-dish graffiti, this anti-bacterial voodoo. Big fucking deal.
It was sickening at first, having to shower with that thing: the knowledge of his name on the bar a slick presence, polluting this most basic of sacraments, the memory of his touch sticking to me until my own fingers turned alien. Those first few days I emerged from the shower feeling dirtier than I'd been going in.
After a while it began to amuse me, though, getting him into a lather each morning, knowing that none of this froth and fury would rub off, that his blustering would pour from me like water, leave me refreshed. It was as though by scrubbing away at his name I was washing myself free, not only of the night's disappointments, but also of him, shedding dead skins of sensation like invisible layers of the past. And he too was being worn out, erased, the offending letters of his name fading as the bar waned in my hand. Soon there would be nothing left of him, only a sliver barely worth holding on to, the surface of the soap polished smooth.
A clean start, I thought to myself, watching the last of the lettering dissolve in the shower. After all, what could be cleaner than soap?
P.S. Yes, I've already thought of the (obvious) soap opera joke.