Thoughtful wash times
By Sophie Ann

I sit on the corner of the white washing basket, listening to the shower spray against the glass curtain beside my head. Water flowing from cold to warm. Minutes pass and I slowly take off my clothes. The fabric falls to the floor, revealing my tan-lined skin, pale in the places I wish to hide. Hands over my chest I observe my figure in the mirror. I peer down at the hourglass curves in disgust.

Pain I deserve?

A slight burning pinches my skin as my toes edge under the shower head. The ocean of pain relief flows over my shoulders. Rinsing the almond bubbles out of my tangled hair, I hum the melody to a sad song I have listened to on my phone. The lyrics burn my eyes into a teary mess. Digging my nails into my skin, I rip at the insecurities and imperfections that scatter all over my being. Skin tearing and bleeding onto the floor below. Light darkens as the sun dips behind the tree. The shower water burns red upon my shoulders, my head hung in the bird song silence.

Brothers yelling break the peace and a slammed door shakes through my brain, amplified by the raging headache that remains uncleansed. Lathering the soap on my legs, I wince in torment as the sweet bubbles prick the bare red lines upon my limbs, receiving the pain I know I deserve. Impossible calmness flows within the water, slowing my breathing into a fantasy world containing only me and that shower. Just the silent moments of complete relaxation  give my mind a rest.

Waves of anxiety

Velvet fingertips massage my skull as if to push out all the dark, empty thoughts. The spray burns my hair but it doesn’t bother me. In the final minutes of my cleansing, I think about all the things that have happened this week, this month and this year. A wave of anxiety crashes into me at the realisation of how sad and dark my mind and being have become. Neck resting from a tiring day of staring at a screen, and observing the delicate details of the lake, the pain in my back subsides. I let out a long breath of coffee-scented carbon dioxide. Getting out of the shower I rub my body with the old turquoise towel and shove my slightly drier hair into a bun, fringe sticking up like a pineapple.

In a few seconds of thought I decide to have a bath. Just me and hot water soaking into all my muscles and detangling them from all the stress of the past few years. Getting into the shallow tub I allow the boiling water to flow around my ankles. Not even thinking to add some cold in.

Self-hatred

Isolating my senses, I lie with my back against the already damp plastic and empty my foggy skull. Valuing the time alone, in my thoughts I compare the bath to my mind. Empty but slowly overflowing with clear, hot pain that burns things to the bone. Extending my arms to reach my thighs I trace them up and down my torso, writing damp words of self-hatred and regret. I stay in the bath as it empties all the slightly bubbled water into the drains. I rest, cold and empty, just sitting with eyes closed. No distractions or noise. Just me doing the stereotypical sad thing, curled up in an empty bath and filling it with my own tears.


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