Laying in my bed. Haven’t moved since my eyes opened at 8:56 AM. I know one of my roommates will be here soon.
I could pretend to be out of the house – busy applying for jobs at the cool coffee shop a few blocks down, ridden with fedora-wearers and six dollar Americanos – pausing my Netflix show and shallowing my breathing until I can hear her footsteps leave out the front door.
I could quickly tie up my hair, replace my wine and Cheeto stained sweatpants to act as if I have been working all day from home.
I could listen, deeply with with diligence of someone afraid of getting caught, waiting for the perfect moment to hop into the shower when they get home for their twenty-minute lunch break. Maybe they will think I just got home from the gym.
I hear her bike being lugged awkwardly through the back gate as I wrap a towel around my body and walk into the bathroom. The door protests as I try to fumble the lock closed.
My hair is washed. I’ve brushed my teeth three times already today. I listen tentatively as she heats up her meal-prepped chicken breast and vegetables in our microwave. She will be gone soon. A thought grows: Where do I pretend to be when she gets home after work?
As I sit down the water runs down the side of my face and plasters my wet, blonde hair across my eyes. I let it stay like that.
The water can’t get any hotter as I try to turn the faucet past the ‘H’.
Sitting on the floor of my shower, I could not be any lower. I pull my knees up to my chest and wrap my arms around them, chin tucked between each leg.
I haven’t shaved my legs in weeks and the long hairs tickle my lips. My body is mushy and malleable in my arms – feeling as weak as I do. I don’t want to open my eyes.
I told myself I would allow five minutes, but I need six.
My eyes open, gaze tilted down until my stare meets the silver, rusted drain. A chunk of black, long hair is circling the drain, refusing to go down. The water is getting in my eyes. Stinging. I welcome the feeling. I could stay like this for hours.
I think about my athletic thighs in college. Toned from a life enjoying – biking across Boulder, running along the creek at sunset – greeted by a cold beer on the patio with friends, and carrying the weight of my world up mountains every weekend with the ease of unburden.
I accidentally inhale deeply and choke on the searing hot water.
I was ten pounds heavier back then, but I could do anything. My heart never raced out of my chest. I didn’t have the bald spot that is now sporing out of my left temple. At night, I slept.
I think of the exams I never studied for and aced. I think of my pristine, and often consulted, moral compass. I think of my pride while benchmarking myself against peers. I think of the the perfect feeling of knowing I could do anything. I think of the hope these thoughts elicited in me.
When was the last time I breathed? I try to take a single breath to feel alive. I don’t.
I think of my life before college. All the signs that pointed to my success. My grades, my affirmation, my ability to excel at anything and everything and nothing at all. I think of the term ‘hindsight is 20/20’.
I hear my roommate leave.
I watch the black hair circle the drain and tell myself that I will leave the house at 4:35. Maybe my roommates will think I have an interview or date. Maybe they will think I have a life.