The Morning I Tried To Feel Everything
This is a short piece I wrote after a particularly devastating night’s sleep, and the appropriately scouring shower in the morning.
When I came to the shower, I was bottle-thrown by a mob of complaints; I got black leather caught under my thumbnail when peeling an avocado last night, and it remained tender as if, I’m not sure, two years before, a hammer had gulped its Adam’s Apple across it. The last of a cold hung from my nostrils. My back was sweaty, my thighs zip-locked, my beard plugged in and powered, and I felt cold air molesting my stomach for the first time in a day. I reach in and break an eager moss of limescale, and as it falls it is the cold air, not the water, that reaches me first. Imagine experiencing this with sound and light, I tell myself now, hours later.
My father would have had a shower before work three or four hours ago, and the atmosphere inside the glass door has only just recovered from all of that nonsense. Now I come along, its barely nine o’clock, and ruin it all over again. Air doesn’t want to be heated, I don’t think; what would want that roiling tumble, that hazing from liquid to gas and back again?
The water in the tray is still cold, and my feet look like aubergines under the surface. But the stream is hot, and the air too, and as it rises I smell everything the night has given me. First the shoulders go under, which I forget to dry everyday and where I am now tormented by pike skin. The hammered thumb disappears inside a pillar of gravity, and that black leather is sought out and sorted into the only file the shower has. I grope for the shower gel, which claims no fruits or flowers but smells simply soft. This shower gel paints a myth that soap oozes from the trails of slugs, and we collect it with strygils as a folk activity.
My legs are mottled roasting joints now, and the heat is really getting to me, it’s in my nose. I fart and plot the acoustics, before my neck is plunged into the transparent throat like that of a ringworm, full of teeth. That nibbling is really what we all go to bed for. It is so marvellous I think I faint briefly, though as I am still half-asleep it is hard to make the distinction. You can scour a hangover off your flagstones with something like this, at least temporarily. Nothing hangs about too long with such a feeling drumming on your spinal column.
I rock forward and my ears and the crown of my head are under now. I am swallowing water by the cupful, far more than eight. I try to focus on the differing roars in each ear, trying to echo-locate the unique tunnels of air that exist on each side, and then realise that there is a hiss in the middle. I didn’t realise that my head had a centre, I thought that such revelations were for people calmer and more introspective than I am, but there it is, a hiss that uses my cheekbones as an amp. I stand for ten minutes like that, puzzling out that hiss.
I always try to turn off the water as quickly as possible, to leave my body shocked. It barely realises that it has thumbs, now, let alone one in pain. My beard is like a painting against my face, my thighs see daylight between them, and as my chest hardens in the face of the open window (opened by my father before dawn, to prevent mould) and the brisk rubbing of a towel that cannot dry in this damp air, I walk away trouble-less, at least until dust begins to settle on my shoulders again, and my feet gather dirt, and all the fluids in my body come drip, drip, dripping out of hiding, to see what a tidy state the shower-water has left behind.