White Light, White Heat

There is something so painful and so good about taking a bath when I don’t feel well. The process of making the move to the bathroom is the most arduous, and often the product of hours of procrastination. But when I sink into the hot bath everything ugly feels wiped away with the current of modern plumbing.

Tonight I swept back my hair into a ponytail and a bright paper white hair emerged up from above my forehead. I wondered if it was the same hair I found last year. I pulled it. I didn’t see any others. And then I rolled it back and forth between my thumb and forefinger, scared. Isn’t that stupid? But it’s just another sign—like those unpleasant cellular developments, macular degeneration, or watching Law and Order marathons—of aging.

I lowered myself into the bath tub and decided to forgo reading. Instead, I watched the water spread out all around my thighs and my feet turn pink from the heat. My spine felt crooked against the wall of the tub. I felt all of my skin and all of my bones. I felt as purged as I could.

Later, I smoothed out my blankets on the bed and laid flat, turned to the window. The stars looked white bright. It was two in the morning but still I heard birds and the gentle, soporific tug of aging.


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