You can see the first flash of the camera even with your eyes closed. Even under water. Mil’s hands are firm in the middle of your chest, pressing between your breasts. You filled the bath as full as you could. It’s a big old tub and without Mil holding you down, you wouldn’t stay under. It’s okay though, no strain in your lungs yet. You sway slightly, the sleeves of your pyjamas, drifting softly against your arms. He’d said he
wanted to do something special for your anniversary. He’d booked the tickets and everything. You’d stood in the huge gallery and watched the video of the angels. They hung in blue light, in blue water, wreathed in bubbles, rising, rising and the pulsing that accompanied them wasn’t sound, it was the thud of your own blood. When you turned to Mil, you hardly recognised him, his shut-in look
gone, a look of rapture instead. You too. You’ve always wanted to be an angel. What will you look like underwater? Peaceful, in that silent world, cocooned. You open your eyes, all bleary and stinging. Tiny silver bubbles are streaming upwards from your nose. They are beautiful. It’s starting. A little pressure now, not just from Mil’s hand. It is starting, you will be reborn above the water, you will rise. It will be better than before. You will be happy. Mil will be happy. You are making him happy. Little bubbles like beads of mercury cling
to the hairs of Mil’s hands, his wrists. Above you the strands of your hair hang against the surface. They look black. You can just about see the bathroom ceiling, Mil’s face. What do you look like to him now? Are you beautiful yet? When you were a child you used to make angels in the snow, but this is warmer. The first time he found you when you were already in the bath. Red had only just begun. The water was barely pink. But this time you will be blue, like the angels. Suspended. Graceful. A large bubble of air pushes through your lips, another, another, your body jerks involuntarily, your heels
drum against the side of the bath. In the gallery, a million bubbles condensed, rippling inwards. Below the water something, someone—churned, rising towards the surface. That’s what it’ll be like, when all the bubbles have risen from you. You’ll be an angel. You watch the last bubble issue from your mouth, it glints and wavers bursting into the above. Time to rise. But Mil is holding you. Your hands grab hold of Mil’s wrists, your body tries to twist away, your knees come up, your elbows bang against the bottom of the bath, but Mil is holding you. Mil is holding you. You will be Mil’s angel.