Hot Water

screen shot 2019-01-15 at 11.16.36 pmTonight I was cold—too cold for my socks or my space heater to fill. I turn the steamy shower on, and by the nightlight, I take my contacts out. My husbands lenses fizz quietly to themselves from their little hydrogen peroxide cylinder, but mine are done and I leave them to curl into little blue-tinged crescents on the counter. Delicate like glass.

I like night showers, I like the way the hot water falls on me in the dark. I like the heavy white noise that fills my ears and stops my anxious thoughts. Just the warm water, the dark, and my skin slowly warming and tingling back to life. I like the slippery bar of soap,  and I like the way my skin feels scrubbed and clean. The steam now smells of lavender and vaguely of home. I can see out the widow into he inky blackness, the glowing snow reflecting the dim moon in my backyard.

The cost of water edges into my calm, and I feel guilty for the water bill that the furlough means we cannot pay. I shut the tap off, and wrap myself in the heavy cotton robe hanging on a simple nail in the windowsill. I have lived in this house for five years, and I have replaced everything, but I like that small little nail.

I like the gentle smudges of black around my eyes, as I rub a circle clear on the mirror and lean in, my myopic eyes shift their focus. With my contacts, I cannot see close. Without them, I lean in and everything is clear and bright. The details of my skin are fascinating for a brief moment. I like the juxtaposition of my in/ability to focus. It feels right.

The blowdryer offers up a second wave of white noise, blocking out all the worries, and I like that. My warm hair blows around my like a tangled halo, soft and a little wild, and I like that too.

I leave the robe draped over my chair, and shrug on my grey sweater, over my grey stripped nightgown. My kids would laugh, calling this my uniform. I like grey a ridiculous amount—it’s my comfort color, and right now, it’s a good thing.

My husband sits in his chair by the window, a book folded in his lap, a pile of clean laundry with him in the chair. He stares off in the middle distance, his face half shadowed from the inadequate reading lamp on a rickety table I love and he’s baffled by. He spent the day calling our utilities, our insurance companies, our mortgage company; all the bills typical of any family of six people. He wanders around the house, helpless to do anything, helpless to contribute to the work to which he’s dedicated his professional life. We’re trying to make the money leftover from December last through January, while not knowing if it will have to be stretched even further.

I like the little reprieves we can find. Even if it’s just hot water.