I’m sticky. The black sleeve of my jacket reaching for the radio is furry with white from the covers. I’ve been dozing in my clothes. Outside, it’s overcast but not raining. Leaves are cramping the drain and there’s movement in the gutters. I reach for the radio and go downstairs. It takes the water half an hour to warm.
Mornings are for function washes, not a full ritual. While the tap runs I strip at the top of the landing, putting the things I’ve slept in straight into the basket. This saves effort. Also I don’t like to touch them again after I am clean. I collect a towel and kneel in the bath. Sitting wastes time.
The mirror behind the tap shows a kneeling torso, head chopped of sheer at the white plastic rim. I put the mirror there because I couldn’t work out how to hang it up without knocking lumps in the wall. Now I like it there: like looking through a window at someone else. Nipped in waist and pale, tight thighs with tiny pink scars- remnants of a past surgery. The scars only show when I wash but they’re there all the time: waiting to surface through the skin when I hit the water, like invisible ink. Not so visible when it’s luke-warm though. I splash to get used to the temperature then raise my arms and count the ribs. The mirror breasts tilt, nipples creasing in the draught from under the door. Then I wash. Just the soap and my hands taking the sweat of the night away. Making me sweet.
I descend down the stairs heading to the kitchen. Always tea in the morning unless I’ve eaten the night before: then it’s black coffee. Bad mornings, I have only hot water. But I drink something as much as I can. It helps the headache and the dryness: the weight of fluid is calming. I am leaning back on the worktop with the cup between my hands when a note twitches on the lino.
Phone Dr. …
I’m running out of Valium already? Could be an old one: it’s hard to tell. I check the clock and worry incase it’s stopped. Sometimes I have to haul it off the wall and listen for the tick to be absolutely sure. It’s ok. It’s always ok: just a matter of waiting. I get nervous waiting. When I am ready, I rinse the cup, mop the sink dry and lift my coat. My mouth is still dry as I lock the back door. My mouth is always dry.