I like the water hot. Almost burning. My skin turns pink, and then red, but it’s bliss. It soaks through to my bones and it feels like the sun. I want to keep it trapped in my skin. It always fades. But those moments with the hot water and the steam and the whirr of the fan are my own, I can’t hear anyone else. Their voices are thick and far away through the fog.
I didn’t realise this was part of who I was, this daily ritual of burning and renewal. I thought it was just a shower.
He came out to find me in the living room, ‘You can’t get mad at her,’ he said.
So I got up.
She was huddled in bed.
‘Come on,’ I said, ‘lets clean you up.’
Last time I was exasperated. This time I was ashamed of last time.
I smiled at her and she smiled back.
Relief for both of us.
Wet clothes hit the floor and I tested the temperature of the shower.
She hopped in.
‘Will you come in with me?’
I like the water hot.
‘Of course,’ I said.
We drew faces on the glass.
We ducked our heads under the shower-head for three seconds. Then five.
My skin was cold.
But her heart was warm.
I used to think a day was it’s own unit of time. ‘Did you have a nice day?’ Yes/No.
It’s not though; it’s a thousand choices. And you can’t tally them to see whether the day is more positive or more negative because it doesn’t work like that. There’s no overall score. Just the choices.
I’m trying to make better choices, and I’m not letting myself add them up.
A day isn’t good or bad. But I think the choices can be, sometimes.
Tomorrow, the water will burn again.