Code Violations

Aimee Parkison


When we were young and lived in the city, our first apartment had a toilet in the shower in the kitchen, beside the stove. The television faced the shower. With this arrangement, you or I could take a shower and sit on the toilet while cooking dinner and watching pirated cable, all at the same time. Too convenient to be hygienic, the bed was also the kitchen table, which was the sofa.

This design brought us closer during the early years of marriage, when there was no such thing as boundaries. By saving space and money, we came to know each other more intimately than most couples ever could imagine. That apartment, in spite of code violations, was the most romantic place we ever lived but also the cheapest and the most illegal.

You loved me better then because of the toilet in the shower.

You were more committed to our relationship because of the shower near the stove.

In the illegal design, I found innovations that excited me, improving the quality of our sex lives. I could cook soup while you were sitting beside me, relieving yourself on the toilet as I was watching you shower.

Then, there was the other door that opened onto no room. Nothing but a tiny window. We could open that door and stick our heads out to watch the ballet together, free of charge. If we listened hard enough, we could hear music through traffic.