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when i was a kid, i collected soaps. it all started with a nice beatrix potter soap that i was given as a present. my sister had jemima puddle duck, i was given peter rabbit. then, soon after, i became that age where distant relatives didn’t really know what to buy me and i was a girl, so they started buying me generic bath products. i was probably only around eight or so & still didn’t have the inclination to run my own bath, so the products piled up: hand lotions, shower creme (we didn’t have a shower), foot ointments, little bottles of fruity shampoos & perfume testers. and soaps, lots of soaps. they were shaped like animals and characters from children’s books and exotic fruits. i had them lined up on the dresser across from the bath & i’d count them gleefully week after week, even if none had been added or taken away, just for the sake of counting them, just to stake claim to the collection, just to know they were all still there in their places, though there was no real pattern or order.

when my friends visited our house for the first time, they always made a comment about our bathroom. it was one of the biggest rooms in the house & it had the least in it. i used to feel annoyed that it was bigger than my bedroom & on more than one occasion, i would beg my parents to let me swap rooms, not really understanding the complexities of plumbing. we used to run around on bath nights, hyper, taking it in turns to jump in, be scrubbed reluctantly, with my mum holding out towels for us to hop out into. in age order, usually: my sister, me, then my little...

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