In this morning that dawned, I made a resolution to confront myself: the flawed creature that I am. It was not in front of a mirror that I conducted my confrontation, but it was inside my mind as my body struggled to free itself from the spell of Morpheus. Why should I rise on this day?
The truth is that I did not want to get up from the bed and face the life that I have been living. My eyes opened and I stared at the ceiling. To whom do I offer the mundane fruits of my day? I slowly sit up and look around. The sun shines brightly into my room, illuminating my world. My things have surrounded me all these years, and have kept me company when no other human would stay. One corner holds a pile of dirty clothes; I try to do my laundry regularly—I always aim to do them once a week—but the pile holds several weeks’ worth of skins I shed on a daily basis. In my own regime of fastidiousness, I refuse to reuse the clothes that I use when I leave the house. However, the shirt and the pants I wore when I go to sleep has been repeatedly worn for several days already. These clothes are terribly worn in all the places, but their soft texture feels comforting and the lightness gives me the physical idea of nakedness without the actual exhibition. Being naked to my own self has never been comfortable, much less being naked with another human being.
I grab my towel and head from my room to the bath. I remove my clothes carefully, as these were in delicate condition. I walk over to the toilet and proceed to defecating, since this takes some time, I grab a book and begin to read. I’m always reading a romance novel, and this time is no different. The generic storyline never demands any deep thoughts, and any thought that comes out of it is from inspiration rather than stipulation, purely for enjoyment of words and images. Deep inside, I know that I read these novels because it helps me in my emotional isolation. With my bowels all emptied out, I grab the bidet spray and twist my body to wash my ass and my vagina. I grab a bar of soap with my right hand and create a lather then proceed to work that lather into my intimate areas. I rinse off my hand and my intimate parts, replace the bidet, and turn to flush the toilet. I walk over to the sink to wash my hands thoroughly before drying them on the hand towel hanging nearby. I walk over to the other side of the room to turn on the shower then leave it running as I assemble the various products that I will be using this morning: daily facial wash, a moisturizing body wash, a hair conditioner, and intimate wash. I carry them from the cupboards above to the shelf beside the shower.
Intimate wash! When I was a child, the entire body was washed with soap—from head to toe—but today, each body part requires a particular product. In the bathroom, I hardly realize that I am walking naked along its entire length and breadth. Then, as I gingerly walk under the shower, the cold needles falling against my skin jolts me into realization that I am indeed naked. A state that is better gotten over with immediately.
Dodging under the torrent of cold water, I stand impatiently waiting for my scalp and hair to get fully drenched. Then I grab my conditioner and squeeze about half a handful of product into my left palm, replace the bottle on the shelf right beside my facial, body, and intimate wash, rub the product onto my right while ensuring that water does not fall onto them. With my back turned to the shower, I crouch down and rub the conditioner into my hair—from the roots at my nape to the tips of my long hair. I work the product in thoroughly and slowly—this activity holds my complete concentration for about a minute—once satisfied, I twist my hair and slowly straighten, making sure that the shower does not touch my conditioned head.
Next, I run my hands under the stream of the shower, rinsing off what was left of the conditioner and raising my face to be moistened. I take a step back and grab my facial wash with my left hand. The steady stream showers down onto my chest creating rivulets of water to travel down my stomach and along my legs. I squeeze a small pea-sized portion of my facial wash into my right palm then replace the container back onto the shelf. Again, I rub both palms together to evenly distribute the product before bringing my hands to my face. Starting with the cheeks, I close my eyes to slowly work over up to my forehead then back down to my chin and down the front of my neck. This takes considerably less time than my hair, but I don’t skimp on the attention. With the tips of my fingers, I carefully feel every single flaw on my face: the sensitive bump of a growing pimple, the empty scars of pimples long past, the many microscopic warts that only my dermatologist can discern with her naked eye, scabs of healing that would certainly leave new marks, and lumps of whiteheads that I eagerly squeeze out while washing my face. I know that I should stop squeezing out those whiteheads because they always leave scars or become really bad pimples in the coming days. I carefully open my eyes, making sure that no product goes into them, and look at the harvested white head. Clear enough, I see a small pale amber at the edge of my finger nail. The doctor said that these are sebaceous cysts and they do look like small beads of hardened oil to me. I put my hands under the stream of the shower again to wash it away with the rest of my facial product.
Conscious of my conditioned hair, leaving the cleansing suds on my face, I quickly grab the biggest bottle on the shelf to squeeze a handful of product onto my palm. Sometimes, I grab the loofah hanging from a hook beside the shower and squeeze the product directly onto that. Today, however, I just want to use my hands. I quickly snap the cap in place and put it back on the shelf then rub the product onto my nape and shoulders. My other hand joins in to work the wash across my body. As I reach my breasts, both hands are working to bring out a lather. At this point, the stream of the shower falls uselessly to the floor. I keep the shower running because the sounds my hands make as they rub across my body makes me too aware of the tactile feeling. With my upper body well lathered from shoulder to belly, I grab my intimate wash and squeeze a small portion onto my hand and work it against my pubic hair. I work the wash into a lather covering my vagina and extending to my butt cheeks. Of course, in the interest of hygiene, the product is also worked into my butt crack and I feelingly touch my anus. I like being clean and I guess I am not afraid to get my hand dirty to achieve that. It’s easy to wash my hands anyway. I have not always been aware of it, but ever since I read an article about the shitafa that Arabic men and women use to wash their private parts, they particularly mentioned that they only use their left hand because they use their right hand to eat. Sure enough, as my left hand finishes the job, I grab again the bottle of body wash with my right and run my left hand under the stream of the shower—clean again to receive half a handful of body wash which will be used for my legs. I slap my hand against my left thigh and work it into a lather. As my right hand is freed after returning the bottle to the shelf, I work both hands down my leg to the soles of my foot. Then I straighten up and work the same way on my right leg. At this point, sometimes the suds of my facial wash would work itself into my eyes and I would feel a little sting. When this happens, I work on my legs with my eyes closed and once I finish with my right heel, I dunk my head back under the stream of the shower to commence rinsing.
Rinsing the conditioner off of my hair takes quite a while so I stand comfortably under the steady torrent and use both hands to slough off the product I diligently worked into my hair just minutes ago. There is a particular oily texture to the conditioner that leaves me in doubt whether I have rinsed off the product completely from my hair. Unlike the feeling of rinsing off shampoo, my wet locks do not register a squeaky clean feeling as I work my fingers along the length of my hair. I leave off my hair for now and raise my face to the downpour to rinse off the suds. Again I make use of my hands to make sure that the slippery feel of the facial product is completely gone. As I do so, I marvel at the immediate effects of the facial wash on my skin. Gone was the rough feeling of my cheeks, and now I enjoy a supple resilience as I work my hands down to rinse everything from the rest of my body. I turn in place under the shower to make sure that both front and back are rinsed well. Then I grab the shower head with my right hand and bring it down to make sure that even my privates are clear of suds. Then I slowly guide it down my legs and watch my toes wiggle under the veil of drops from the shower.
As a final sweep, I bring the shower overhead and once again work my hands to remove the last traces of product from my hair. I carefully check that the drops falling from the tips of my hair are clear. Once assured that I have fully rinsed every inch of my body, I promptly twist the valve to cut off the shower, squeeze out most of the water from my hair and walk over to where my towel patiently hangs as I finish my ablutions.
Spreading the towel, I crouch and bring my head down to rub the cloth all over my hair. It’s the part of my body that takes the longest to dry and once that’s done, I twist the towel up over my head and tuck a corner of it under the coils so it would hold up. Dripping wet, I walk back to the shower, grab the products I laid out: hair conditioner, facial wash, body wash, and intimate wash; I bring them back to the cupboard raised above my head and properly align them like little soldiers. I take a step back to view my work and crouch down again to unravel the towel from my hair then wrap it around my body.
I leave the bathroom, still leaving wet footprints across the hall back into my bedroom. I walk over to my closet and open the doors wide as I survey the armor I will wear out to protect me from the weariness of my day. Then I unwrap the towel, use the dry corners to rub my body dry, from my face to my ankles, leaving my feet wet. Then I once again use the towel to wrap my hair and tuck it in place. I proceed to choose my underwear, the first layer of protection. Sometimes the pair would match each other, but invariably they would not. Lacy flesh-toned bra would be paired with bright pink cotton panties or I would wear a bikini top with a lacy panty. It does not matter, really, as no one would see them anyway.
I walk over to the pile of dirty clothes and select a cotton shirt. I sit down on the dresser ottoman near my closet and I proceed to wipe my feet dry. Clean from head to toe, I step onto my bedroom slippers and walk back to my closet to review my options. Dressing up well strength to my confidence throughout the day so I try to dress as best as I can. My clothes can determine the mood for that day. Considering the half-hour contemplation about my life earlier this morning, my confidence needs a little more of a boost than normal. On these days, I like to dress more feminine and a little bit brighter. I see a pale peach rose knee-length dress with sequins on the shoulders making me look like a pastel general complete with epaulets. Making my decision, I turn around and walk back to my dresser to grab my deodorant and raise my arm to spray under. Then I sit down and grab my facial sunblock and proceed to dab then spread them all over my cheeks, forehead, chin, neck. Then, I grab my daily moisturizer and spread them generously all over my legs, and smaller amounts on my elbows that somehow seem drier and rougher without. Then I stand up, grab my perfume and proceed to sprit a little bit on my neck, between my breasts, and behind my knees. Placing the perfume bottle on the dresser, I walk back to the closet to begin donning my dress.
Spying the selected garment, I grab it from the hanger and raise it over my head to drop down onto my shoulders. The hem reaches just above my knee, perfect because I like my legs. Showing them off to advantage adds a boost of confidence. I walk over to my dresser to wear the gold-plated wristwatch that my sister gave me, eschewing all other kinds of accessories. Then I walk across the room to choose a strappy peach wedge. I remove my bedroom slippers and slip on my shoes. I walk out of my room and grab the cream studded leather shoulder bag that I used yesterday. I take the keys out and opened the front door to see the sun shining along the small cemented pathway leading out to the gate. I close the door behind me and securely lock the bolt in place with my key. I stare at the bright sky with the sun already high, my guess it’s about eight o’clock in the morning. Briefly, I check my watch to check the exact time, ten minutes to seven—oh well, close enough! I walk down to my gate, stepped out to the sidewalk, and secure it again behind me with a heavy duty lock. Straightening, I face the bustling street in front of me, already wide awake and moving with frenetic energy—getting things done to match the pace of the world turning. I’m ready to get in step with the rest of them.