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Steam

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Hot showers reminded me of him. Hot showers and cool tile floors. I could remember every detail of that night when I took a hot shower. The way the steam would curl around itself, slowly tracing its way down the mirror. My feet pressed to permanently cold white tile. The bathroom in and of itself was utterly unremarkable. His presence in the shower made it seem extraordinary. The off-white curtain separated us, rustling when he happened to brush against it. I could smell the shampoo. I can still smell it, every time I twist the metal knob to the left. It permeates in my senses.

I breathed in, deep, through my nose. My naked skin longed for the warmth of the water streaming to cover him, but my nerves froze me. Naked and scared I stood in the bathroom, but out of where I longed to be. My fingers twitched as I forced them forward, just hovering to touch the plastic sheet obscuring me from my goal. Over the seeming roar of the gushing water, I heard him sigh. I cleared my throat, again wondering if I was doing something unbelievably foolish. “Hello?” I remembered he asked, as if someone else would have come into his bathroom looking for him.

“Do…. do you still want me to join you?” My voice sounded weak and pathetic even to me. The curtain moved to one side, revealing the man, no, still a boy, I so longed for. My fingers still hovered in the air where I had been trying to work up the courage to move the curtain. He took my dry cold hand with his warm wet one. We looked at one another for a moment, both unclothed, both vulnerable with nothing to protect our bodies from the other’s eyes. Water was escaping from the rim of the bathtub to splatter on my torso. It was not the first time seeing each other this way. But it was the first time we could look at each other fully. With no rush, no eagerness to hinder our childish wants to touch.

“Yes.” I stepped over the rim of the tub and we kissed with the warm water hitting our sides. I remember the hiss of him pulling the curtain closed again. I remember making love for the first time. I remember the water going cold. I remember retreating to the safety and warmth of his bed and lying entwined until he fell into a hazy form of sleep. And then I cried, while lying wrapped around this beautiful boy who had taken my virginity, and who held a different type of love for me than I wanted. I knew that I had made a mistake. That this one moment would resound and hurt me tenfold in the future. Every time I take a hot shower, I think of him, and my heart grows that much more numb.





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