Showering with the Lights Off
A Sequel to 'Love, Loss, and Loserville'
I like it when it's peaceful. I like quiet, and being able to search through the thoughts in my head, opposed to their usual fighting over any background noise to be heard. Don't get me wrong, I'm as argumentative and competitive as the next guy, and my mother is one to quickly relay to any old friend she sees in the street that "it's like fame academy in our bloody house"; this does not mean, though, that I can't enjoy the silence. I like to listen to the gulls on a sunny morning and dream I'm somewhere else. Anywhere else. And I'm soothed by the soft breath of the person sleeping next to me, in a night extinct of screeching neighbours or party houses or racing cars and though I long for that elimination of noise, as soon as the soft trickle of breath silences to a mere rising and falling of the chest, I want it back. I want it back to hold me, to comfort me and enclose me in a blanket of warmth and love and life.
I like to shower with the lights off. This is not some considerate means of avoiding mirrors and a ghastly reflection, having a tendency to stare into the spots and scrapes across my skin for as little as possible. To that I say turn the lights back on. Force a reflection in my face and let me observe; I will diarise each speckle of discolouration, each lashing of cellulite and then note afterwards in coloured gel pens how each and every one of them is simply lovely. Hold my hands to my skin to tell it how much I love it, how thankful I am that it protects me and comforts me and keeps me warm when the cold winter nights are just too much to bare. Praise it for its willingness to stick by me as I stand on sharp miscellanea I don't really have any intentions of picking up and putting away, or the sunlight I expose it to day after day, each one forgetting to lather myself in cream and protection, or the salty tears that slide across my skin time after time; where I expect mass erosion I see soft, gentle skin that absorbs my tears, holds them and protects them for the next time something equally as silly upsets me.
I like to shower with the lights off. With this I feel more at peace, keeps me tired after a day of excitement, lets me feel alone in a house full of bustling people. Lights are turned on and I feel like a child again, a mirror fogged over which I, subsequently, have drawn a smiley face (or some form of genitalia) onto, a window I still refuse to keep open, scared of peepers or winged insects tangling in the suds on my skin, or being captured in the stream of hot water and floating lifeless around the puddle at my feet, and my clothes strewn thoughtlessly across the tiled floor, looking innocently rushed and excited. I like feeling like a child again but I am not a child and I am in the shower and I am naked.
I close my eyes and I am in Paris. Dancing along the Champs-Elysee in a heavy downpour, naive and in love, every new stranger every new face and it's overwhelming. I am in New Zealand, under a soft waterfall, skinny dipping in the enchanted waters, less naive, more wholesome and alive then I've ever quite felt before.
I am home. It is dark, and finally, it is quiet.