We arrived, shrugged our things, our clothes, our travel-induced weariness off, hightailing it to the wooden door, the one washed white with the cracks along the surface. Or, really, what little surface emerged from those deeply etched tributaries. Paint over paint, a royal blue. You rubbed your eyes, looked at yourself by the basin, breathed into your hand, sniffed, grimaced, and waited patiently for me as my toes curled, standing in front of the porcelain. A strong stream. That last cup of redeye coffee was perhaps unnecessary but the florescent allure of midnight rest stops...
The floor was checked in white and black on a ratio of 4 to 1, rather than the usual one on one. It was morning. Still seemingly dark inside, we kept the lights off regardless. The single window across the ceramic tub was steadfast, wouldn't allow for the sun or a small dog passage. Age old saints candles, canaries trapped in glass caves. They dusted over the sill, forgotten, carried over from a former life, but remained standing, not unlike those happy martyrs. It was enough.
You gathered the shower curtain, a faded shade of. some color. Hooked it over the rod. Spigot drawn, you hummed Peggy Lee over the din of pouring water shambling into the below, spattering onto the sides where the enamel had worn away from years of usage, where grey met it’s lesser than.
We sat bare: One sprawled out in this painted-over cauldron, cooking, fibers loosening. The other perched atop the gilded throne, watching, smoking.
…4 minutes passed. Or maybe 7. This was the American spirit?
Drawing the last, you climbed in, awkwardly angled around to face the door, legs straddled atop mine, half submerged, half kissing the cold morning air. Hey, just trying to get comfortable. It was a hilly terrain, an island chain easing into salted water, grapefruit and ginger(?)
There we laid with washcloths adorning our eyes, the cheap kind that comes in a bundle, but somehow a cut above the rest - something about cleansing with something that costs a quarter leaves me feeling cleaner.
You nudged me gentle from a threatening sleep that furiously raced around your even breath. You scrubbed my back wordlessly, without request, in vertical swipes from left to right.
I had gotten used to this: stewing instead of showering. It had been, at first, a retaliation against the sad state of your shower head. Then, a familiar comfort.
Now, wrestled into pleasant submission, the head flows, the pressure runs right, maybe violently so. I lie here with this washcloth, the one I packed preciously into my suitcase. This cheap memory, this non-event in the past is as innocuous and mundane as this water surrounding. Placid pools.
I have been here for a solid 47 minutes. I clamber out, spilling over, and hang the cloth over the rod so it will be ready tomorrow. It feels clear.