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I still believe, at 25, that a shower will get the day off of me, that it can be that easy. This faith, trampled flat after emerging from the shower cold and squeaky (it's scary when your skin actually squeaks; that always seemed better as a metaphor, a little add on before clean). On the off days I wear eyeliner, it's thick and black and is painted on with a little brush from a tiny tiny bottle. I do Cleopatra eyes, flapper girl eyes, geisha eyes. When I'm in the shower, it all comes back to liquid, and without being able to see I imagine I look beautiful this way, all smudged up and tragic, all delicate and brave at once, naked and yet painted. All those virtues clothing designers use to describe models they invite to Paris. When they walk the runway, I heard, the models' clothes are pinned on, for easy on and off.

In my shower there's an extra tension rod that holds a second shower curtain which drapes over the top of the stall so all the steam doesn't just go whoosh up to the high ceilings in my drafty abode. Before I thought up that Martha Stewart nightmare, I could never really stay warm in it. I was very proud of myself.

When I get out, it's the pit in the Indy to get dry before I get cold. Lotion on the parts that will get dry soon after, then layer layer layer of clothing articles. I remember when showers could lose me, could swallow me up into another world for fifteen minutes. I remember laying down on towels outside the shower at my parents' condo where I spent my teen years. I would lay down and watch the steam come off my skin, feeling magical, some creature between fire and ash, like the odd flickerings under a smoldering log in a campfire that looked like shadows but were hard to make out because the air all around them stuttered like one of those curly cue straws you drank milk out of just to see it run up, over, and around. Like the straw, the log soon got tiring to look at, and you turned away, you got over the novelty of it. At the condo shower, there was a heat lamp in the bathroom, so you could keep your reflection in the mirror pink as long as you tuned out the tick tick tick of the timer dial on the wall. Like the heat rocks in the sauna, hissing and sputtering. Like the sun if you could stare into it without those tin foil boxes during an eclipse.