It is not really a bucket, more like a bowl.
Or rather a bucket-bowl. It is wider than a bucket but not as tall. It is probably as wide as a half a car wheel and tall as a cooking bowl.
Bit grainy, bit rugged, bit old. Been in the family for awhile. One of my grandmother’s few precious things she came over with when she moved in with us.
Top of the washing basket in the bathroom. Always.
To my mum, it is a washing basket substitute. To my sister, a bathtub for my baby nephew. To my father, a soaking device for his tired feet. To me? A step-stool. Always a step-stool. Because one always needs a step-stool.
I remember using it as a child at my grandmother’s house. Flipping it over. Loudly placing it on the floor. Putting my left foot, then the right one, on its cold surface. Hurting myself a little bit on the rough line that sits on the bottom. Then reaching for something that equaled mischief. Out of my grandmother’s sight.
Why am I thinking of it today?
Why am I looking at it as I sit on the cold bathroom floor with my back against the door, hands folded between my legs? Avoiding the crowd that gathered in our house…
I close my eyes and take a deep breath. One, long, deep inhale followed by a calming exhale.
I stand up.
I make my way to the bucket-bowl.
Slightly tipped, it sits, as always, on top of the washing basket.
I look down at it. Almost scared to touch it.
Finally, I roll up my right sleeve, bend over, hair falling down on my face, spine hurting, I touch it. Gently, with just a tip of my finger, I touch it.
It is still grainy, still rough, still old. And very much yellow.
Braver now, I flip it around and look at the line at the bottom. It is green with age but oh so familiar.
I run my finger along the line. Slowly. Methodically. Carefully. This line is my friend. My oldest friend. The one with whom I shared true adventures.
So, why am I here?
Standing in an uncomfortable position, touching something that should be of no more importance to me than any other household item.
My sister knocks on the door, calling me out. I ignore her.
I hold my position for another minute, this time looking at the inside of the bucket bowl.
Well used, it smells of many washings, many purposes, many years. It is a comfortable smell. One I realise that I associate with that one person.
Another impatient knock from my sister.
I put the bucket-bowl down and make my way to the door.
I do not turn around. I know it will sit there, will always sit there. Waiting for me. No matter what.
So I open the door and face the crowd.
All dressed in black.
Author: Anna Kuncio
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Mark Morgan/Flickr