Red Rubber Gloves
by Christine Brooke-Rose
In the kitchen window of the right-hand house the panel of two squares over two over two over two is open to reveal a· black rectangle and the beginning of the gleaming sink. Inside the sink is a red plastic bowl and on the window-sill are the red rubber gloves, now at rest.
In the morning the sunlight slants on all the windows, reflecting gold in some of the black squares but not in others, making each rectangular window, with its eight squares across and four squares down, look like half a chessboard gone berserk in order to confuse the queen and both her knights.
In the black rectangle of the open kitchen window the sunlight gleams on the stainless steel double sink unit, just beyond the cream-painted frame. Above the gleaming sink the red rubber gloves move swiftly, rise from the silver greyness lifting a yellow mass, plunging it into greyness, lifting it again, twisting its tail, shifting it to the right-hand. sink, moving back left, vanishing into greyness, rising and moving swiftly, in and out, together and apart.
On closer scrutiny I can see that in the left-hand house the wooden frames of the thirty-two black squares, eight by four in each of the rectangular windows, are painted white. It is only the right-hand house which has cream-painted windows. They all looked the same behind the trees against the strong September sun that faces me on my high balcony. The left-hand house seems quite devoid of life. Possibly the two rectangular windows, one above the other in the square end of the inverted U, are not the windows of the bathroom and kitchen at all in the left-hand house. It is difficult to see them through the apple-tree, and of course through the goldening elm in the garden at the back of my block. In the right-hand house, however, the lower room is definitely the kitchen, in the black rectangle of which the red rubber gloves move swiftly apart, shake hands, vanish into greyness, lift up a foam-white mass, vanish and reappear, move to the right, move back, lunge into greyness, rise and move swiftly right. Beyond the red rubber gloves is a pale grey shape, then blackness.