Wednesday, May 5, 2010
I'm holding in my hand a half empty tube of face wash, it's the deep cleansing kind, the brand is generic. I'm following the same ritual I do each time I take a shower at 3:00 AM; the lights aren't on so as not to wake up the snoozing normals that have been tucked in for hours. (The only light comes from the upside down night light that casts out a glow just bright enough to make out the outlines of each plastic jelly-filled bottle. I have to keep it upside down because the wires are loose. It's a nuisance) I've already washed my face once I think, I can't remember. My knee caps are coming loose from their places and they are sliding up and down my legs. My hand is shaking violently I realize. I look down at the half empty tube; white and familiar. It seems so far away, just as my hand does. And then with the spine cracking boom of a thousand Texas fireworks, I'm back in the parallel universe of sheer panic I haven't been to in a million Earth years. The knee caps bounce up and down vertically, like they are nodding in agreement with the unhealthy beat of the heart. As hot water falls to the yellow tile, soap scum covers her. She's forgotten how she cleans herself. What's next? Conditioner. Bend over, pick up the bottle. It feels so heavy in her right hand which is still shaking. Open it. Open it. Pressure on the sides, and there. She covers her hair with the thick purple muck, smoothing it in. The wire skeleton of the shower door looks like the barbed wire of a prison for the first time to her, and it looks like it's coming closer so she backs up towards the opposite wall conscious that she looks disturbingly paranoid. I'm not letting this happen. I need to run out of the shower still soapy and naked to rouse everyone up to tell them I've broken again. No. I breathe in so deeply exhaling a breath that smells far too much of hazelnut coffee. That's why. False paranoia and unreality is coming in through my ears and eyes because of coffee. That's so sad, it's funny and she smiles to herself. She breathes in steam and the sense of purposely forgotten perception. Why did I smile? Usually the smell of shampoo causes me to think of things like pop-up books, that thing that made me laugh earlier, the impermeable satisfaction I get from living. Now it's making me cry and I'm smiling? She thinks to herself that she must be back in the thriving nightmare of questioning every move to see whether it is alien or not. For god sakes, it really is not that big of a deal I tell myself. My brain is craving sleep and I tried to slip it some caffeine instead. Clearly my head knows what it wants and I cannot sip it from a straw. She sticks her face under the shower head, turning the heat on further so as to burn away this attack of unfair, shambling anxiety. Pressing hard on her eyes and rubbing her face, she sighs loudly. And then it is over I think to myself, though I'm still trembling like an anxious lap dog. I condition my hair again, this time savoring the way my hair curls at the end as I run a brush through it, kinking out the knots that I left there the first time through. With a brisk rinse, I'm done. I exit the tile chamber and I towel myself off, talking to no one in a tone of disbelief. Really? Seriously? Fuck. I pull on some cotton clothes and hurry my way out of the bathroom back into cold reality.