You Can Be As Clean As You Want To Be
It’s four in the morning but she takes a shower anyway.
It’s hard. She’s still a little drunk or rather, she’s still very drunk, but the water is hot — she likes it that way. She spent most of her money on a cab ride home but the rest was spent on the booze and to be honest, home is a pretty subjective term considering she’s only been living here for a month. Her braiding hair is on the floor of “her” bedroom. “Her” bedroom is on the top floor of the house. The house is in a wealthy postal code and the postal code is one she frequently gets messed up, because it’s a jumble of letters and numbers. It’s all very British.
The shower is actually a wet room. She takes showers multiple times a day sometimes; the rest of the time she spends constantly thinking about when she can get her next fix because the shower is actually a drug. Or the shower is actually her lover. She returns to it faithfully every day, waits to be caressed by an adjustable shower head, but only when she wants to.
This is the beauty of everyday things. They wait for you to come to them. They wait for you to say “yes. I want you.”
Wet rooms are weird and the heat never rises to the fourth floor but she decides to go along with her plan. Her toes are still a healthy shade of brown at first but as she gets colder and colder, they turn pale, turn yellow, turn purple. And her skin is actually a bruise. And her braiding hair is on the bedroom floor and her other earring is on His bed somewhere. Or maybe in the cab.
She feels better thinking it’s left on the seat of a car of the cab driver, of a man who hasn’t touched her. Of a man who waited for her to say “yes. I want you” and didn’t do anything that felt like “no.”
She worries she might wake up the family sleeping in the bedrooms on the floor below, but her mouth still tastes like rum and coke and her hands still feel like desert. Like dry hands and hard muscles, like getting stranded on a street in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of everything, like His hands, like Dirty.
Her body wash is the cheap kind, the kind that smells like mangos and America because she bought it back when Wal-Marts were everywhere and Sainsbury’s weren’t a thing. Because she bought it back when Dirty wasn’t an emotion. Back when Dirty didn’t have a face or a name. Back when Dirty didn’t taste like Last Night.
It’s after midnight so she assumes it counts as “Last Night” already. The shower makes her fingers pruny so she gets out but her legs are still tired and her thighs are still sore and her body is still a memory foam bruise, still clinging to her skin like Dirt. Some things don’t leave us easily.
Some things we choose to forget.
Kiki Nicole is a writer currently living in Portland, Oregon. Their work has been featured in Bitchtopia Magazine, Voicemail Poems, Drunk in a Midnight Choir, and several anthologies. They work in publishing for Where Are You Press and keep a blog at kikinicolepoetry.tumblr.com