shower thoughts

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  Dark hair runs down my bare back and chest as hot water pelts me. Mist fills the bathroom as the overpowering, yet comforting smell of oatmeal and lemon soap fills the air--it is a childhood scent, one that reeks of nostalgia and bubble baths, while playing with rubber duckies and Winnie-the-Pooh cups. It should be relaxing, yet my body is tense.

I force myself to breathe. This is just a shower.It shouldn't be this hard.

Making myself reach for the comb, sitting dejectedly on the side, I watch as water rolls off its grey plastic like tears, and I realize that my shoulders are shaking.

The best thing about taking a shower is that there's no proof of crying.Red puffy face? Hot water.I'm trembling? Must be dehydrated.Blood-shot eyes? Darn shampoo.

My hair is tangled. Tangled from lying in bed all day. Tangled from tossing and turning restlessly. Tangled from being pulled in frustration and worry. Tangled from a week of neglecting to wash or comb it. I rake my comb through it, pulling, yanking, tugging. The tangles refuse to give, so I settle.

Clean tangled hair is a step up from dirty tangled hair, isn't it?My razor stares down at me, the blades glinting in the steamy air. Before I know it, my hand is grasping the handle as I slather shampoo and soap onto my legs.

There's always something about a shower that steals your thoughts away. I think about who I was a year ago. I was strong, independent, confident. I knew what I wanted and how to get it. I thought I was invincible.

Oh, how the mighty fall.

There's a sharp pain in my leg. I look down to see my razor pressed into my skin. My hand robotically pulls it up my leg, leaving bright angry red stripes. The razor falls from my fingers as I stare at my leg, watching the blood trickle down and get washed away by the water. Pain from the wound fades into a dull ache as I turn off the shower and step out.

I pull on my clothes not bothering to dry off, yanking my jeans on makes me hiss in pain. I glance back at my leg to see the spot already darkening from more than just water. Cursing under my breath, I stumble forward, throwing open the bathroom door and walking past the foggy bathroom mirror without a glance in its direction.

I know what I would see; a weary shell of a person, the washed-out version of who I use to be. I hate looking into my own eyes because I can see it, the sadness and the emptiness I feel. It's a monster trying to crawl out of its cage, and when I look into my lifeless eyes, I know that someday it will escape. 

One day everything I feel will crawl its way out of my soul and up my throat. Its cry of anguish and anger over being contained for so long will be audible, piercing the air and shattering the image of happiness I've been able to put up for others.

I dread that day.

But that day is not today, so I take a breath, step out into my room, and leave my shower thoughts behind.

Shower Thoughts: a flash fictionWhere stories live. Discover now