When the water’s dripping over my back, skating down the shoulders you’d kiss and the hips you’d dig your fingernails into, I imagine you’re still standing behind me. Or at least, that you’re just outside of the door, lounging on the couch, waiting for me to rest my head on your lap and drench you with my wet, tangled hair.
1. I can’t distract myself.
When I’m alone in the shower, without social media to scroll through or friends to text, it gives me time to think. And time to think is dangerous, because my mind always reverts to you. The way you’d roll your eyes whenever I’d pay you a compliment. The way you’d smirk whenever you didn’t want to admit I’d said something funny. The way you’d swipe your lips across mine whenever you wanted to wordlessly say, “I love you.” You, you, you.
2. I’m completely exposed.
If I look down, I can see the stomach I never considered beautiful until you spoiled it with kisses. I can see the thighs you’d slide yourself in between on our bed and in the back of our car. I can see the scar on my ankle from that rough night when I tumbled off the bed and you bandaged me up. Every inch of my body holds a different memory, a different reason to miss you.
3. Every touch reminds me of you.
I run shampoo through my hair and imagine you playing with the same strands. I slide soap across my chest and feel your hands cupping my breasts. I taste the water on my tongue, slipping down my throat, and imagine what it would be like to drown. I figure it would feel just like the day you left.
4. I can play pretend.
When I’m in bed, I’m acutely aware that you’re not there with me, because there isn’t an extra crease in the sheets or a hand on my thigh. When I’m in the kitchen, I can feel your absence, because there’s only one set of silverware in the sink and your favorite beer is missing from the fridge. But when I’m surrounded by the bathroom walls, I can pretend that everything is all right. That at any moment, you’ll knock on the door and ask to join me or that the water will run cold and I’ll have to yell at you for doing the dishes while I’m still in the damn shower.
5. It’s what I’m used to doing.
Not much has changed. Back when we were together, you were the only thing I thought about in the shower. But those thoughts were different. They weren’t about missed chances and bitter memories. They were about what we’d have to eat for dinner and how much you’d love the scent of my new shampoo. They were about which piece of lingerie I’d slip into that night and what color tie you’d wear on our wedding day. They were about our future, but now all we have is a past.