The Bath

The water is too hot. Get in anyway.

Ow, owww.

That’s hot.

Hurry up. Come on.

Oh, the soap. Maggie better not come home yet.

Turn it down.

Come on. Lower. There’s the bottom. So hot. Is it too high? Get in all the way. Lay down. Then see if it’s too high. Hurry up, it’s getting close, come on. Perfect.

It’s too hot. Should’ve turned it down. This hurts.

Not soap. Sticky sweet sweat. Not bad.

Get down all the way.

Is it draining? Is the drain broken? Oh. It’s too high.

Look at those thighs. And that roll. That roll didn’t used to be there. It’s not flat anymore.

Slide down. The water’s still clean enough. Don’t go under, it’s too dirty.

Go slow. Feel the razor. Don’t miss a spot, go slow. Get comfortable. This is about being comfortable. Is there enough soap? Go slow. Feel it. Get that spot again. Which knee has been done? Both? No, the right. Do the left. Slowly. Get the back good. The water’s too high; stop at the knees. Do the rest later.

Relax? No, shampoo.

It’s not clean enough.

That stings. Is it cut? Is it bleeding? Is there blood in the water? What else is in the water? Can it get in the water? Don’t go under.

It’s not wet enough; the shampoo won’t work. Get it later. Rinse it out. Get each part; go slowly. Don’t knot it. Good enough. Lay back down.

Slow down.

Relax.

The water is dirty. Look how dark it is, how unclear.

Not there, there’s mold there. Move. Slide down. All the way down. Go under, not all the way. Make silence. Go through each part of the body. The back of the head. No, don’t start there. The right big toe. The right second toe.

Who’s downstairs? What are they doing downstairs? What is that? Count the beats. No, go through each part of the body. But the beats are loud. Don’t fight it. Count the beats. Oh, that’s not downstairs. Slow the beats down.

Breathe deep.

The beats won’t slow down. Exhale; that’ll help. See? Slower. Don’t go under. Slow them down again. Come on, deep breaths. No, just the exhales. Quick inhales, long exhales? The exhales work. The water’s too hot. Stop focusing on breathing. Get up.

No, wait.

No, get up.

Everything’s done. It’s hot. Cool down. Get cold water. Wait for the water. Don’t get hit in the face.

The drain. Open the drain.

That’s not cold. Don’t get too cold; the hair will grow back. That’s still warm. Good enough.

Shampoo. Better this time. Don’t splash. It’s not drained yet.

Shave. Finish shaving.

The candles are flickering too hard. No, not the candles. Is that tunnel vision? Should’ve eaten dinner. It’s too hot. Too steamy. There’s not enough air. Turn the water colder. Just finish shaving first. Good enough.

Face wash. That will feel good. Turn the water colder; it’s still just lukewarm.

Body wash. Hurry up. That’s definitely tunnel vision. Get away from the faucet. Fight through the heavy. Get out. No, just one more step.

The toothbrush.

There’s no air. Turn on the fan. No, the switch is too far away. Don’t get out yet. One more step.

Floss.

The shampoo’s not out yet. Good enough.

Don’t pass out. The water’s finally getting colder. Don’t wait for it. Just get out. Don’t rip the shower curtain. Dry off; don’t drip everywhere. It’s not worth it. Put away the toothbrush. Don’t slam the cabinet. Turn on the fan. No, just open the door.

Maggie’s not home yet. Be quick. Maggie should be home. Hold the towel up. Get out. Blow the candles out first. Not worth it. Don’t let Maggie see them. Don’t pass out.

The air isn’t cold enough; it’s set at 77. Close the door. Don’t get the carpet wet. The towel’s not up high enough; the carpet’s getting wet. Missed a spot. Just below the knee. Just breathe. Don’t worry about the carpet. The tunnel vision isn’t going to come back. Just wait. Don’t move yet.

Water. Get some water. There’s cold water in the fridge. Don’t get up yet. Slowly. Look; no more abs. It’s not even flat anymore. Sit up. Get up. No, go slow. Just sit up. Just get some water. Cold water will be good. That will work. The towel’s not high enough. Maggie better not walk in yet. Hide. Don’t be in sight of the door. Maggie’s going to walk in. That cup’s too big. It’s Andrew’s cup. Good enough. No, water from the fridge. It’s colder. Don’t pour too fast; the lid will come off.

That’s Maggie. Shit. Pull the towel up. She isn’t looking. Pull it up. Is it up? Keep pouring, hurry. Smile. Wait for her to go down the hallway. Drink the water. It’s cold. Not all of it. Don’t chug it.

Wait.

Okay, go. Quick. Don’t make eye contact. Look at the water. Sit down. Drink it. Slowly. No, not slowly, it doesn’t matter. Relax. No more tunnel vision. Pick the towel up. Get dressed. No, don’t get dressed. Just go to bed. Pull a sleep shirt on.

Good enough.

Go to bed.

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