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The Simple Act of Taking a Bath

Tags: musings, bath, cats

I giggled, staring across the water, the tips of mybrilliantly painted orange toes staring back at me, wiggling like little piggies.

“Hi!”

I waved at them, sliding further in to the almost too hot water with a sigh, my gaze moving up the eggshell tile to the plastered ceiling, willing myself to relax with only a cursory check to make sure that I was alone. Outside, a cat cried, wondering why, oh why was the door closed and locked. I was the worst mother in the world, apparently, never mind that she lacked for nothing else. Privacy, however, was a rarity in a house where two furry creatures followed me around all day, curious of my every move.

I let out a long breath, closing my eyes, allowing myself to relax, floating to the surface, or so it felt, remembering my dad, my hand dwarfed by his, his teasing words under which lay so many layers of concern.

I’ve got you, princess.

I think he was more scared than I, that day I disappeared under the water. After that, he never let go of my hand until, one day, I pulled away from him, shaking my head.

I’m not a little girl anymore, dad. Stop treating me like one.

The sound of a soft knock on the door, my heart stopping, the memory of hands around my throat, his beautiful, awful smile as he forced me beneath the bubbles.

Maybe this time I won’t let you up. Drown you like a kitten nobody wants, you fucking worthless piece of shit.

And me wondering which was worse, knowing that his distorted face would be the last thing I ever saw, or the knowledge of what he would do to me after…

“You okay in there, babe?”

“Yeah.”

“Can I come in?”

There was never a sure answer to that. Sometimes I keep her locked out, at arm’s length, and others, I cling to her like I did to my daddy’s hand as he pulled me from the river, water streaming from my face, sputtering and coughing, wondering why he was so angry, not knowing until far too late, that it was directed inwards, nor knowing how much alike we were.

I knew, no matter what my answer, that she would wait outside the door patiently, watching our skittish kitty trying to decide if it wanted to be touched or not, eyeing her from a distance, our other cat brushing up against her, purring so loud that I swear I could feel the water vibrate.

“Please, sweetheart. Let me in.”

I shook my head, even though she couldn’t see the gesture and waited for the water to turn cold.

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