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Bathtub


On my knees, bent over the edge of the bathtub, scrubbing porcelain so hard that my fingernails hurt. Saturated with soap scum and mold. A weird yellow feeling. Can feelings have colors? Dressed in sweatpants and a 1999 Dexter High School walkathon t-shirt (mascot: the fighting pigeons). Sweating from the work. So out of shape. Need to run more. Be more disciplined. Write more. Think in straight lines toward solutions to current pressing life problems (finances a mess, Wanda not returning calls, Craig at work pushing buttons). Why am I not disciplined?

Dad gave me a FitBit last Christmas. He patted my belly and smiled when I opened it. Ha! Ha! Very funny dad. But it broke, so I think it’s in my sock drawer. Headache from chemicals. I empty the hair trap into the garbage and gag. Spray Tilex till the bleach smell burns. Have to get my Mazda fixed. The kid who hit me on the Kennedy Expresseway was so upset, standing on the shoulder as the trooper took notes. Should not have made him give me insurance information. Deductible too high. Will just pay for it anyway. Maybe will break vacation coin jar.

I wipe the floor. When does my body shed all this hair? Should probably see doctor, re: hair shedding, but also re: dryness of body. Like entire body feels dry. What’s with that, I wonder?

Spray the toilet with something more poisonous than what coats the toilet. Light a scented candle. Wash hands. Wanda likes a clean bathroom. What she up to right now? Thinking about me? Doubtful. Very doubtful. Or, if she is, thinking about ways I disappoint. Don’t live up. Because won’t tell Craig to bug off.

Ball up paper towels. Throw them into the garbage under the kitchen sink. Tie garbage bag and take down hallway to chute.

“NO WAY BRO,” says bro on cellphone in sweatpants and sandals in hallway. “THAT IS FUCKING HYS-TER-I-CALL,” bro breaks up word. Big guy. Looks like a guy who has a lot of fun. Averting eyes. Giving small nod hello in masculine way.

Open trash-room door. Open trash chute. Drop garbage in and then stare down hole, maybe a little too long. Listening for, what exactly? The thud? Too quiet. Close chute and door. Back in the hallway, fun guy is gone.

In the apartment, which smells very good, I’m alone now. Everything very clean. Order is its own reward, maybe.

The sunlight cascades through the curtain-less windows. Covered in chemicals and sweat, I get—out of no particular place—a big, fat, giddy, happy, alive feeling. Then I’m suddenly embarrassed. But why embarrassed? No one there. Why giddy and happy in the first place? Because done cleaning? Because no work till Monday?

Then big, fat, giddy, happy, alive feeling replaced by sadness at not having someone to share feeling with. Would text Wanda but would only create self-doubt and anxiety. Would proceed to check Wanda’s Facebook profile. Would look through old pictures. No. Cannot do. Instead, will shower, will collect self, will go for walk. Will keep on.