Bathtub Blues

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A sucky day ends in disaster when I tried to take a bath. Stuff like this happens often, and I twisted some of the details for personal reason, but the idea of suddenly hitting the emotional breaking point completely randomly is the same. It's very raw and emotional and not very well written, but I think it's honest. Feel free to comment!

Submitted: April 15, 2008

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Submitted: April 15, 2008

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I climbed the steps two at a time. My head was buzzing as I ran into my room and pulled the nearest set of pajamas off of the floor. God, I really needed a bath. My hands shook as I pushed open the bathroom door, threw the clothes on the floor, and pulled on the handle all the way to the left. Hot. I needed hot.
The water slamming rhythmically into the bottom of the tub made a roaring sound in my ears and I could feel myself calming instantly. It hadn’t been that bad of a day, I told myself. Some bad things happen every day. I was just stressed out and tired. A bath would help and tomorrow would be better. If it were the same I could deal with that, too, because today had not been bad. Really.
My hands gripped the solid sides as I slid in with the water still running. The tub took a long time to fill, and I enjoyed feeling the hot water rise up my legs as I sat with my chin resting on my knees. The thought crossed my mind to turn the water off earlier than usual because it kind of was late at night and my parents might get upset.
Before I could really consider the notion, though, I felt a furry face nudge mine and turned to see my cat sitting on the ledge of the bathtub. I leaned my face in close to hers for a kiss but she did nothing but smell. She was a cat, what was I expecting, an embrace? All she wanted was the bathwater. I dunked my hands underwater and captured some, allowing her to lick it from my cupped fingers. She continued to sit and stare at me.
I heard a knock on the door and instantly turned off the water. No doubt my irritable father was the one sternly rapping; I could tell by the knock. I loved my dad, but he really was too much of a parent and he didn’t have my trust. Sure enough, his deep voice could be heard reprimanding me.
“Don’t you think it’s a little late for a bath, Sweetie?” he asked. He pronounced the last word as if it were actually an insult and not a pet name, almost like he had to remind himself that I was his sweetie by saying it out loud. I cringed and looked at my prickly legs, running a hand absently over them. I really needed to shave, but who can tell their dad that?
“I didn’t yesterday and I feel dirty.” My voice took on a catty and defensive tone unintentionally. His words hurt more than he knew.
“It’s a quarter to ten.” His voice grew steadily more impatient.
“I’m sorry!” I snapped.
“That’s why you take a shower if it’s this late.” He continued as if he hadn’t heard me but his tone gave away that he was just taking out his sucky day on me.
I’m sorry!” I repeated. There was nothing else to say. I couldn’t tell him why I just needed to sit in the bath and sulk. That would be stepping on people’s toes and if there was one thing I learned it was to shield my family from my life as much as possible. Don’t trouble them with crap that didn’t matter. If I had a bad day I hid it. And if I got snapped at I just took it.
“Don’t sit too long in there.” The intonation of his voice was unmistakable: Disdain. He spoke as if I was some kind of lazy person who took three hours baths every day. My parents blew things out of proportion when they were grumpy, and they brought up painful things from the past that I didn’t want to remember. They’re venting definitely took a toll on me but I hid that, too.
“Fine, God.” I muttered but he had already walked away. I unexpectedly felt incredibly abandoned and alone. I needed to shave my legs; I had had a bad day! I had failed a math quiz, I had gotten in a fight with one of my friends, I had some weird bump on my arm, my hormones felt screwed up, there were just so many bad things, but I couldn’t tell my family any of this.
Because you don’t tell things like that when your mom’s having some weird emotional breakdown in the other room, when your dad’s on his third week going cold turkey from alcohol, and it’s your brother’s birthday-his day, not yours. So when asked how my day was, I didn’t really answer. All I did was tell small stories, made the small happy parts seem like the highlights of the day, and relieve my family of one more stress. Sometimes fabrication, distortion, lying, it’s much easier than the truth.
Of course I had learned my lesson: Don’t lie about big things. It was wrong, and when you did it was eventually found out. Sometimes I did, though, if people were particularly in bad moods or if I really didn’t feel like being lectured. I paid the price, too. I got yelled at, I got talked about to aunts and uncles, I was made to cry often, but it allowed my parents to vent their feelings. They had a tangible reason to be upset with me. This was better than me telling the truth and making everyone more miserable and more compelled to hide it.
A silent sob rose in my throat but I choked it down, feeling the tears begin to cloud my eyes. The cat just sat and watched me as if amused. My hands lay uselessly at my side and even though I was actually crying for a few minutes I am proud to say I made absolutely no noise, and no one ever knew. Eventually I forced myself to stop, digging my palms into my eyes. I reached for the shaving cream and lathered it over my legs. As I glided the razor carelessly over my skin my thoughts began to wander until I felt a nick and looked down. A few droplets of blood colored the white shaving cream. I swore, feeling the sting as I applied pressure to try to make the bleeding stop.
I dunked my head underwater next, determined to make this the quickest bath in history just to prove my dad wrong. The shampoo’s scent was calming and I held it up to my nose in indulgence before scrubbing my hair. My day really had sucked; there was no denying it now. I needed a hug, or a nice shoulder to cry on, or something. Deep down I knew that if someone had truly offered these to me physically I would have pushed them away, but the truth is that if they had persisted, made me submit to them holding me and comforting me, I would have clung to them. But no one was there, so it didn’t matter.
My fingers had been rubbing the same spot on my scalp for a while when I was deep in thought and I opened my eyes abruptly. How long had it been? Long enough for the shampoo to run down my face and smart my open eyes. Ow. If anyone has ever had shampoo in their eye, they’ll know it hurts.
I gave up on both my relaxing and my quick bath and released the drain while rinsing my hair. The goal was to get out of there as soon as possible so nothing else could go wrong. I was about to stand up when I glanced carelessly at the towel rack, which was infamously empty considering my mother’s neat freak laundry habits. Every time you showered you were expected to get your own towel and then promptly remove it for washing. Sometimes I forgot and I used the same towel more than once, and I almost always forgot to check if there were towels in the bathroom. That night the rack was empty.
Normally I would have sworn, or called out into the hall to ask for a towel but that night I would have been scolded. It was one of those things that just pushes you over the edge for no reason, something so stupid that has so many other things attached to it until you have no idea what you’re upset about, just that you’re upset and it seems nothing can comfort you. So I sat in a draining bath tub with soap in my eye, a small trickle of blood running down my leg, and a shivering cold body, sobbing and sobbing until the tub was empty and I walked out the door, damp in my pajamas, as if it had never happened.


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