Morning rituals (repost)
Sarah walked her youngest daughter, Alex, to the corner to catch the waiting school bus. “Have a good day, sweetheart,” she said, waving as Alex got on the bus. Alex turned and smiled brightly before running to sit next to her best friend Jenna. Sarah turned toward home as the bus pulled away.
She went straight to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee and light her first cigarette of the day. Cup in hand, she walked to the bathroom. Sitting the cup on the floor, she got the cleanser out of the cabinet to clean the bathtub. After she scrubbed it, she turned on the water, letting it run hot until it was full. She removed her nightshirt and panties and sat in the tub. It burned at first, but she let it. She lay for a while, watching the shadows, listening to music in her head. Using Alex’s bubble bath, she washed and scrubbed, scraping the dead skin off her feet and scrubbing them with an old pumice stone. She stood and emptied the tub, turning on the shower to wash the dirt and dead skin away.
Switching the water back to the faucet, she sat down and let the hot water begin to fill up around her again. Picking up Theo’s razor, she removed the blade and slowly, hands shaking, held it under the hot water. She pressed hard until a small spot of blood appeared on her index finger. Searching for unscarred skin, she pressed into her left arm, just enough to feel the rush. She didn’t stop until there was only new blood and old scars. Finally, she dropped the blade and held herself, rocking, head thrown back, mouth open tears mixing with snot, water and saliva, not uttering a sound.