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ADELAIDE Independent Monthly Literary Magazine / Revista Literária Independente Mensal, New York / Lisboa, Online Edition  

 

 

 

HAIR IN THE BATHTUB
By Greyson Ferguson 

 

 

 

I’ve never liked hair in the bathtub. Even my own. The way a strand twists and swirls through rising water before bobbing to the surface. I take a towel to the dry porcelain, wiping out any would-be strands. Satisfied, I fold the towel and set it down on the toilet seat, palms ironing out cresting dunes in the thick cotton.

I plug the tub and twist open the faucet. Water, the perfect temperature, surges to the white surface below. It’s always frustrating when someone comes to visit and they adjust my temperature setting, forcing me to fiddle with the handles until I unlock the combination of perfect bath water. But nobody ever visits. Guess I’m frustrated for another reason.

Reaching for the bubble bath pushed in a corner I stop, my finger tracing along the oversized plastic container. I like bubbles in my baths. It hides the floating hairs. It keeps me from looking into the water and seeing me. But today, right now, it doesn’t seem like the time for bubbles. At least I’ve never heard of someone using bubbles.

I take off my clothes, folding and adding each on top of the towel. Checking to make sure the door’s latched, I stand over the tub, steam rising. Warmth filling my nose. If I don’t check the door, one of the dogs will come in and confiscate my underwear. It makes her happy. Maybe I should let her in.

One foot steps into the tub, pulling my breath in, as if to cool the fire around my toes. I accept the heat as goosebumps run down my arms. As the inhale of my lungs returns to normal, my second foot joints the first.

Sitting down, the water pulses against the front of the tub before gently pushing against my chest. My knees remain two islands above the water. The warm water wraps itself around me. A hug, which soon will cool. A metaphor for most of my relationships.

My eyes scan over the water. Bubbling up from the waterfall near my toes. No hairs to be seen. Or the twisting threads are lying in wait under the surface. I choose not to look. Instead, I look at the plastic tub of bubble bath, the purple liquid wondering why I neglected to invite it in. The shampoo I over-pay for in hopes of thicker, fuller hair. The safety razor gifted to me by the company, in hopes of a favorable review.

The company’s gift represents the nicest gesture I’ve received in some time. People stop offering nice gestures in adulthood. At least that’s my experience. Only birthday card I received last year came from the insurance company. People have to gesture one another somewhere, right? I’ve read about people paying it forward at Starbucks. I’m not sure how I can pay it forward with my birthday card. Perhaps that’s why my premium went up.

The safety razor is heavy. The handle twists off to reveal the razor blade. It’s thin. Paper-thin. It gently flexes between my thumb and finger. I wonder if this is the right kind of blade.

Lifting my left arm, water drips from my wrist. Tears from my body. A body no longer capable of feeling. I haven’t felt anything in a long time now. No good. No bad. No excitement. Nothing. Like in a bubble as the world goes by. I go through the motions. I work. I eat. I walk dogs. A human on autopilot. I’m not sure if the pilot remains or if he hopped out, strapped with a parachute a long time ago. I just want to feel.

I met someone online the other day. I invited them over. I just wanted to feel something. I didn’t. Sometimes you just want to feel.

The blade pulls down my skin, following the vein. It pulses with the beat of my heart. Blood flows. The water swirls into a painting of red, but there are no happy little trees here.

I watch the blood pool. I can’t remember if I felt it, even though it just happened. Maybe my brain is numb. It’s been numb for a while. I don’t know.

Whenever I’ve heard about suicides on the news, family members and friends always say they had no warning. They were kind and happy and satisfied and full of life. They cry and wish their lost loves had said something. Called someone. Told someone. Did something other than what they did. I called someone. I told them I needed to talk. That I felt down. Lost. Alone. Numb. Empty. They told me to hold that thought, pot delivery at the door.

Bested by a weed.

When you need to talk about intimate details, at least when I need to talk about intimate details, I don’t just want to talk to anyone. There’s only a select few I’d want to open up about that too. After abandoned for a medicinal mental high I can’t call the landlord and tell them to shut the water off—
--I reach and turn off the water. I feel weak. Lightheaded. Like my body is caving in on itself. I’d hate if my water pooled down onto the neighbors. Probably wouldn’t get my security deposit back either.

I wonder when they find me if my friends will say they wish I had called. Told someone. Said something. Did something other than what I did. I wonder if that person, that one friend, would realize. I wonder if they’d blame themselves. Or blame me.

Coldness envelops me. I shudder as the bath water turns from a watery pink to thick crimson. It’s eerily beautiful.

As I make the last cut, I continue to feel nothing. I’m just there. At least for a few more breaths, I’m just there. I wonder what comes after when I fade out? I’m okay if it’s nothing. Because that’s what I already am. How I already feel. Just more of the same.

Vision blurs. Spots of green and yellow move in, taking over my field of view. Void of strength, I slump into the water. As my head wobbles and life fades, I can see it. There, bobbing by my toes, a hair.

I hate hair in the bathtub.

 

 

About the Author:

Greyson Ferguson is a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design with a Bachelor's degree in Film and Television. He has written for numerous publications, including USA Today, Yahoo, CBS Interactive, and The New York Times. Greyson is the author of the travel memoir Travel For the Soul (Even If You Don't Have One), which became the #1 Peruvian travel book on Amazon upon its release. When not writing, Greyson can be found walking his dogs, discussing all things beer on his YouTube channel (2 Dudes and a 6 Pack), and exploring new books and music in the NBBC Book Club.

 

 

 

 

 

     
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