“Mom, are you taking me to soccer?” Our ten year old son stood in front of my reading chair. He was already dressed for his futsal game, shin guards and all.
I checked my watch. “Uh, yeah.” Fifteen minutes until we needed to leave. “Let me take a quick shower.”
I knew I was pushing it. Fifteen minutes to shower and dress would be crazy fast for me, especially in winter. I usually take 30, and that’s without makeup or blow drying my hair. I ran up the stairs, pep-talking myself. OK. No messing around. No getting lost in the shower. Gotta get to the game. I HAVE to move quickly, I HAVE to get in and get out.
I cranked the faucet to scald, stripped, and jumped in. Focus, Andrea. Wash hair. Wash face. Doing good.
Warm water streamed down my back. My skin turned pink from the heat, just the way I like it. I opened my eyes and watched steam fill the bathroom. Condensation dampened the back of the porcelain toilet, moistened the cardboard tissue box, crept over the mirror ’til I could have drawn a smiley face on the fogged silver glass.
I squirted conditioner on my hand and ran the smooth cream through my hair. I scrubbed my skin with a sudsy washcloth. I closed my eyes and listened. Clack clack, clackity clack as water spattered the plastic tub at my feet. I turned and faced the spray to massage my eyelids. The fan hummed, straining to exhaust the room of its fog, failing as I cranked the water hotter. So warm… The water tenderized my throat. I could stay here forever, especially if I didn’t have to stand up the whole time. Maybe I should take a bath. I could light some candles, relax with a book. I’ll have to wait a little while, though – I’ve probably almost drained the water heater.
I turned and reached for the conditioner bottle. I smiled to myself and thought about fairy forests, the ones you read about in books, where the hero enters the enchanted forest and time distorts. He dances and drinks and makes merry and could get lost in there forever, unaware anymore of the existence of an outside world, of the passing of time. Everything in the forest is the Now. The shower often feels like that to me.
I tipped my head back in the stream and then squeezed extra water from my hair before applying conditioner. My hair felt silky, slick. Wait. Did I already use the conditioner? I looked at the washcloth on its hook. It was wet, not dry. Did I already wash?
Oh shit! The soccer game!
I slammed the water off, ripped open the curtain, clawed through the fog for a towel, and swished it all over me while I ran, dripping, to the closet. Jeans, shirt, belt. Ran to the clock. What time is it? Two minutes. Two minutes left! I pulled wool socks over damp feet, threw on the clothes, dragged a comb through my hair, and checked the clock. One minute to spare!
I raced halfway down the stairs, then slowed to a walk. Pretended I had everything under control. I leaned over the railing and said, “Okay buddy, are you ready to go?”