~ a short story

The insides were burning, the outsides compelled to bear witness. His state of mind couldn’t move beyond the pain of immediacy and so he dwelled there. He made it home somehow.

In the bath unmoving, he settled his soreness as the water ran. He crouched, his legs holding him steady while he hung his hands limply on the steel next to his feet. His knuckles rested there, palms up. The water flowed into the tub around his statuesque form, not too hot and not very quickly. Slowly it’s warming fluid embrace began to capture his toes, feet, soon his cheeks. He looked at his hands, at the water pouring in, at his naked form, and at nothing in particular. Crouched in the tub, he begins to meditate on the unconscious happenings of the previous night.

Once again, I lost control.

The recollections were hazy. Images, in a continuously chaotic manner, flitted about in his mind space. Once they were wrested free from the general feature of subconscious blur, they remained for a moment or two before he returned his thinking to a meditative center to escape. Again and again, these thoughts were entered and exited. Numb pains flowed through him at the same time. The process stretched back even further than the previous night, the previous week, month, year.

Time is so defined by the series of choices. Not one choice. Never just one. It was always a series, a passive, unconscious flow of decisions that I can’t see, I can barely feel…

He had left some of himself back there. He knew this to be the case because it always was. The same, tired story. Retread ground. And he never learned his lesson. The head ached with an uncertain motive throughout. His brain pulsed with pain. His mind moved around like a lazy dog’s restless nesting, never quite settling on a spot to drive home the final act. Same with the stomach, but it was different and harshly so. The ache of pain down there was pressing to the point of light agony.

An inescapably torturous weight fell upon him now as hunger. Thirst. The necessity of consumption in this weakened state, combined with its wracking miseries was truly diabolical. Water the prime salve after a night like this one. He believed he had already hurled his fair share of guts this morn, but also didn’t want to test it further. These sessions, from this particular affectation, relieved little when it was over. The incessant ache was replaced with a dull reminder which foreshadowed the next violent release.

And so, he was thirsty. He would have to remain in patient longing until the discomforts passed.

The reach of the warm water now wrapped around most of his body. He sat back, releasing from the crouch. Pent up tension relaxed in the motion. Bones soothed themselves. The legs stretched out in comfort, but not quite to their full length within the tub. The stretching form was a welcome feeling. The warm water spread out across the rest of his lithe form. He closed his eyes, sliding back and submerging lower into the water, continuing the ruminations. Eventually, the water was turned off. Composed in silence, he welcomed the endless march of the temporal. If this bath was his last, then he would make it last. She believed she deserved this much. ~