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Beyond This Morning
As the water from the showerhead ran down the nape of my neck, I attempted to wash away the filth that poisoned my body and my mind. I felt the water trickling down the curves and creases of my body, and couldn’t help but shudder in the frigid sprinkle. An outsider looking in wouldn’t have been able to see the tears as they streamed down my face, cascading towards the linoleum tile underneath my feet. Tears turned to sobbing, sobbing turned to hyperventilating, and eventually I crumpled in a shattered heap. Needing to escape from my icy confinement, I reached my hand outside the shower, feeling around blindly for a towel. I dried my hair and stumbled out of the bathroom, taking a few steps towards my bed before finally collapsing face-forward onto the mattress.
“What have I done?”
I cannot remember much of what transpired that day, though perhaps that’s for the better. I’ve forced myself to suppress those memories as best as I can, however their resurfacing is all but inevitable. I go over my mistake almost every hour, on the hour, and don’t see myself stopping anytime soon.
At about 9 o’clock, I awoke in an unfamiliar bed; my body sprawled out across it as though I had been thrashing in my sleep. My first fear came when he wasn’t there beside me. Although, that fear was quickly dispelled when I spied a note on the table across from his bedside:
“Had to leave for work”, it said. “Feel free to use the shower and show yourself out.”
No ‘good morning’? No ‘how are you’? No ‘love’? I crumpled the note into a tiny ball, letting every crunch and crinkle resonate, savoring the sound of its destruction. In a way, I felt as though I was crumpling up his lies and deceit.
I stormed out of his house with much my clothing still left behind in his room. I wanted nothing to do with those tainted garbs, or my tainted actions. I must have created quite a scene as I left, since I recall more than a few spectators gawking at my ghastly appearance as I rushed down the street corner to the nearest bus stop.
“Damnit,” I had forgotten my purse on his kitchen counter. The bus driver was kind enough to let me ride without fee, but it was still little consolation. I took the seat furthest back and against the window, curling up and burying my face between my knees. I would have to cancel my credit cards, get a new drivers license, and deactivate my cell phone. Nothing could compel me to ever return to that loathsome, repugnant necropolis. I bit down on my lip; the pain was almost soothing, serving as a distraction from the hysteria perpetuating in my mind.
“This is your stop, ma’am,” the driver exclaimed. With my head hung low, I thanked him and scurried off the bus, never looking back for an instant. Luckily, I had managed to remember the keys to my apartment, not all was lost in that debacle. Fumbling with them at my door, it seemed to me as though I was attempting to thread a needle. My hands shook ferociously with trepidation, and it took a good several seconds before I finally succeeded in unlocking my door.
I immediately ran to the bathroom and stripped down to my bare flesh. The plumber had failed to fix my boiler earlier in the week, so a cold shower would have to suffice. As the water from the showerhead ran down the nape of my neck, I attempted to wash away the filth that poisoned my body and my mind.
My sister had been out all night, so I wish I could say it was a relief to return home from school and find her asleep on her bed. However, there was something awry in what I found. The shower had been left running and a trail of water lined the path to her bedroom where I found her. Her expression was not the gentle, tender jubilation I had come to expect of her. Instead, her expression was one of anguish, as though she had suffered a tremendous calamity. I set my schoolbooks down on the floor and made my way to her bedside, caressing her cheek. I vehemently desired to seek out who had wronged such a sweet, fragile human.
“Hello, um…your name is Lauren, right?” rang out from our apartment’s answering machine. “This is John. It seems you left your purse here. Come pick it up, I don’t want to be left holding onto it for too long.”
John? I had never heard that named mentioned before, but maybe he knew what happened to my sister last night.