It is too early to leave. I need to wait another hour at least. I have been thrown one of those unseasonal days this city is famous for; it is all shimmering air out there, when the date suggests it should be something more autumnal.
It is too early to shower, even. I half undress anyway, slide off my grubby t-shirt, and pace my bedroom topless, hands reflexively going to my chest. I’ve never been sure just what my neighbours can see. The way the window is positioned, angled so oddly, they either have a direct line of site – or no view of me at all.
Funny to think I might have been watched for two years now, so easily. Someone knowing my routine, someone waiting for me to wander into my bedroom, to strip down at all of the 6 pms I’ve spent here. I never can keep my clothes on after work. I need to immediately shed them, like the day I had to wear them for. In hindsight, curtains would have been a sensible addition. But I have always been loathe to shut out the light, it is filtered enough already by grey buildings, and city clouds.
Whatever survives, I want to let in.
I could shower. Maybe take a longer one than usual, or wash my hair. Then, just before I go, if I’m too sticky from this afternoon air, I could jump back under the water for one last minute. Use those expensive lotions I have been saving, let their scent wash over mine, soak gardenias and white lilies into my skin.
The scent of you is dangerous.
You said that once and I couldn’t breathe. A revelation offered, a telling of truth on the stand. It is not what you were known for.
I remember you in sentences. Not much more than that, these days. You’ve been shifted to somewhere deeper in the brain, I suppose. On occasion, something else fires, a memory pushed to the surface, something textural, something I can feel between my fingers. But it’s mostly just words. A passing comment you left behind.
They generally come to me like this one, hovering out there on their own. Ellipsis, more than explanation.
I shower. Wash my hair and then immediately regret it. This new conditioner worked better a week ago, softened my hair, made it almost silky. But now as I dry myself off, I can barely get my fingers through its length without one knot then the next resisting. Shit. I need my hair to co-operate. I need to look polished, cool – and my hair has always been my give away. Evidence that I’m not quite ready.
I turn the shower back on and step back under the still hot water. I’ll massage the conditioner in more vigorously this time. At least it gives me something to do as time ticks its way toward you.