The sink is clogged again. I’ve brushed my teeth and now the sink is just a porcelain bowl of cloudy water. It’s morning, and I’m tired, and I need to take a shower and get ready for work. But I’ve got to do something about this. The water’s not going down on its own.
There’s that little plunger thing in the basin there that can go down and clog the sink if you want to clog the sink, whatever that thing’s called. Mine has a twist-off top, which is convenient. But even now with the top off, the water isn’t going anywhere.
Time to unscrew that snaky tube from the pipe underneath the sink. I twist and twist and off the snaky tube comes and a lot of water splashes everywhere on the tile floor—all the water from the basin, actually, coming down in a splat.
Good thing I live in Korea where it’s common for the whole bathroom floor to be tiled. No cabinet to the sink, though, just the sink attached to the wall and the pipe where the snaky tube, which is in my hand, attaches and trails into a hole in the floor.
Got to clean out the tube. I pull it up from the floor where it’s supposed to drain out, and I see all this sludge come out, the color a dark, dark, dark green, and it keeps rolling out.
Wonder what makes this sludge. Has a smell too, like old rubber and mildew.
This snaky tube is flexible, so I take it and bend it up underneath the faucet and run water through it, and then these large chunks of dark, dark, dark green come bounding out, hitting the tiled floor. There’s also a lot of hair, these long, black, thick hairs, and some hang thick and dark from the bottom of the snaky, flexible tube like streamers. I have to tug at the hairs to get them out.
Now for my pièce de résistance, the moment I take the steel-wool and wad it up and shove it down the tube. I take the handled end of my toilet plunger and push it through, and the steel-wool plops out the other side with this dark green sludge hanging on to it, falling on the floor, looking like some half-digested piece of food—
And to think my fiancée says I don’t do enough to maintain the apartment. I know I’m always the one to unclog the sink. I don’t why I go through all the trouble— cleaning the drain, getting out this sludge, getting out her hairs from the drain like this—as if this wasn’t the surest sign of love.
Billie Pritchett is an English professor at Kyungnam University in Masan, Korea. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Murray State University. His work has appeared in New Madrid and is forthcoming in The Delmarva Review.