On the way to the bathroom, someone will ask if you’re alright. Pull your towel closer to your body, clutch it a little tighter and say,
Strip each layer of clothing off one piece at a time, making certain to avoid the kind of contact with your body that makes your skin tingle in the kind of ways that scare you. Throw them away. He hasn’t noticed you’re gone yet, and you’ll never wear that dress again.
Turn the water on. Turn it all the way to the left. It is important to recognize that the temperature of the water will never be hot enough to do the kind of cleaning your soul needs. Be okay with this. Do not be okay with this. It won’t really matter.
I know you are afraid of standing directly under the water. This is not real fear. This is cold feet. But you already knew that, didn’t you? He still hasn’t noticed you’re gone. Put one foot in front of the other. Walk directly under the shower head and open your eyes. Now close them. Open them again, and you will stop seeing those things I know you see.
Is the water too hot? Is your skin beginning to turn red? Does it burn? Good.
On the shelf is that bottle of body wash you love, the kind with little exfoliating beads. Put too much in your hand, cover yourself up. Rub. Rub some more. Rub harder. Dig your nails in. Scrub in circles, dig into your flesh. You’re not scrubbing hard enough. Remember, he still hasn’t noticed you’re gone. Keep moving your hands. Stop just before it seems like you could draw blood.
If you don’t think you’re clean, I know how you feel. Stand there under the rushing water, let the soap run off your body. Does that spot where he touched you last feel a little fainter? Does the scent of the soap overpower that lingering smell of his cologne, of his old t-shirts, of that last weekend spent loving in places that love can’t be kept alive? Can you still see the faded ink of his I love you's and please don’t leave, it won’t happen again and I am so sorry covering your skin? Can you feel your bodies response, hear your fingers trying to scratch an answer back that isn’t quite an apology for the things he did to your body, to the things you let him do to your soul, and for the things you did to it yourself? Wash your hair clean. Untangle the knots from tossing and turning in a bed that was too big, too empty, too full. When you were eight, your mother told you
Learn to recognize when people are not good for you, when they don’t mean to be good for you. Walk away.
And then she left. You spent eighteen years trying to fill her void with men who called you the wrong names, who showed up late to your birthday and men who tore your heart apart looking for their fathers between your legs.
You and I both know he wont wake for another hour, and your bag is packed next to the back door. You’ve got time.
Rinse and Repeat.