It is now time for me to admit that I am a rubber duck, and have been for some time.
I am floating quite aimlessly in a white bathtub, the water in which has long since gone cold, and the bubbles long since forgotten.
It has been a long time since this bath has been inhabited. The inhabitant left several years ago, totally neglecting the plug, the water, and myself. He left abruptly, without reason, just jumped out of the tub and away. He took the soap with him. A couple of years ago, the shampoo bottles decided to leave, and since then, I have had only the taps to talk to, but they speak a gurgling, gluggy language that I can only decipher on rare occasions, and so the conversations we have are generally not great.
This morning, a small, weary spider climbed up over the side of the bath, looking anxious and disturbed. I attempted to commence a discussion about particle physics, but it just sat there for a while, ignoring my every word. Later, it slipped into the water and lay still for a while. It's still there now.
What the future will bring, I do not know. I hope that one day my host will return and refill the tub with nice, hot, bubbly water again, and recommence his bath, but it seems unlikely now. The taps haven't gurgled for weeks, and I am gradually finding myself slipping into a state of delirium. Only yesterday did I convince myself that I was a seventeen-year-old living somewhere up in the north of England studying for A level exams.
The hallucinations are becoming more vivid with each passing day. I can no longer even feel the cold of the bath water. Somewhere inside my rubberduckiness, I can feel a tide, ebbing and flowing like the remains of a cheese and ham sandwich stuck to the back wheel of a car and being repeatedly scraped along the ground as the driver makes a fifth, a sixth, and a seventh attempt to reverse into a narrow gap between two mental health clinics.
One day, I will find myself admitting to the taps that I am a human being, really, and have been for some time. But what they will make of that, I doubt I will ever manage to decipher, however hard I try.