Damp Dark Debilitating Thoughts Spilling Forth to Slow One Down, or
Delicious Daring Doubtless Thoughts Sputtering Down to Push One Forth
I wait until the steam builds up, when my breathing slows and I am safely submerged, I wait until my mind reviews the price of being tethered and the luck of being smart. I wait until I feel little crystal beads of sadness start at my shoulder blades and drip down, one by one, over my breasts until they just disappear, like they never existed. I wait until I do a speed read of my life so far, the sound of applause and the quiet thank you's and the way the sun turned east that morning on the hill, that morning when I finally understood I would be carrying the weight I never sought, never even understood, but somehow along the line I agreed to it, and really, every morning in the shower I remember that I freely chose it then, and I freely choose it now. I watch that water spill onto me and I could just as well be Esther Williams practicing her synchronized swimming—practicing something alone for something that cannot be performed alone. That is me.
Then, when I have in no order at all finished my morning cleansing, when the steam is sufficiently thick and I have sufficiently calmed down, I see my day beyond all those jumpy judgements and cheerless chores and sad secrets, and for a moment so fleeting I never remember it, I pray I will be good enough.
Then, every morning just before I begin in earnest, just before I take my place and deliver my hopeful goods, I pause, place my right index finger on the shower door, and I make a peace sign. First I make the circle, then the up and down line that separates the parts and joins the whole, and then the slants, first left, then right.
Every day, every single day, that peace sign is my consistency, this personal act of hope and penance that pushes me forth, now scrubbed clean, open to fly and fall all over again.