I recently developed the habit of taking hot showers.
When life becomes too much,
I shed my clothes and step into my sanctuary.
I turn the dial all the way to the left,
because hot is cold and cold is hot in my old one bedroom apartment.
I wait until it becomes almost unbearable on my feet
where water is slowly pooling near the drain.
Then and only then do I pull up on the lever
 and let the water cascade over my body
 like a million little pins puncturing my skin. 

I like to imagine that if the water is hot enough
and if I scrub hard enough
I can wash away the layers of the person I’ve become.
That underneath all the insecurity and self-loathing
awaits a brand new me.
I stand under the spray as the steam grows thicker
making it difficult to see my own body.
And relief floods through my veins,
because it’s so difficult to escape from what you hate most
when that thing is yourself.

The air in my tiny bathroom is hot and wet
making it difficult to breathe.
My head becomes fuzzy and my lungs ache
but that’s good.
That’s the point.

I throw on a pair of sweatpants and a cozy hoodie
and fall onto my unnecessarily large bed.
The sheets are cool where they brush against the small of my back
where my hoodie has ridden up.
I turn my head to the right and look through the gap
between my blinds and the window
hoping to see the moon shining through the leaves.
But all I see is the florescent glow of the flood lamp
that makes it impossible for my room to be dark enough.
Dark enough to sleep, dark enough to match the thoughts
that creep into my mind and whisper in my ears.

I wait for sleep to gather me in its arms
wishing it was permanent but knowing better.
Scalding showers are probably the closest I’ll ever get to self-harm,
which is a pity.
They just don’t do the trick anymore.
As I lay in my perpetually empty bed
I realize that nothing has really changed
after the water has abused my skin.
I’m no different from the person that stepped into the shower,
It’s just that now my hair smells like apples.

Published by Jordan Trantham