Tasmin retreated back to the safety of her cocoon and listened to the sounds of Shaleeza making her way downstairs and then talking to Tasmin's parents before finally slamming the back door shut as she raced off to work – only to be given a ration of grief by her aunt for being late... yet again. Tasmin wanted to cry some more, to stay hidden away in her tower and far from any form of human contact – especially men. Surely not every man was a scumbag liar... only the ones she met. How long would it take for her emotional wounds to heal to the point where she could expose herself to the public once again?
She crossed her arms over her chest and pouted, Probably never.
Her plans for the day included staying in bed and feeling sorry for herself – including but not limited to – extended bouts of crying and binge eating comfort foods. She sighed heavily and waited for the next round of tears to start.
Strange thing, though. They didn't come. She was still grievously hurt, and she was sure there would be tears at some point in her future.
But not at that moment.
Actually, the thought of a shower sounded pretty good to her.
Besides, she scowled over at the blast of light pouring in through her opened window shade, there was no way she could fall back to sleep without the necessary amounts of darkness to feed her depression.
Tasmin sighed again, this time with resignation and thought, You win this round, Shaleeza. She threw the covers to the foot of the bed and felt the brisk cool of the air tickle her exposed legs and arms. She waited a moment to adjust, then crawled from her bed and made her way to the bathroom at the end of the hall, pausing at the closet outside of the bathroom to grab a large terry towel. She winced when she flipped on the light switch; those three demonic bulbs her parents had put in above the sink were obviously eight MILLION watt bulbs. She stood at the sink and assessed the ghostly reflection which stared back at her from the medicine cabinet mirror: wan lips, sunken red eyes, straw-like hair, sallow cheeks. Lovely. She opened the door to the medicine cabinet so she wouldn't have to see that again. It was a perfect reminder of how she felt. No thank you.
Tasmin pulled off her nightshirt and reached around the shower curtain to start the water. She threw her clothes in the hamper and sat on the cold toilet seat as she reached through the shower curtain repeatedly to adjust the temperature. Oddly, even as awful as she felt, the sound of the shower spraying the vinyl curtain inches from her head was soothing, a sound of normalcy which hinted – maybe – that her life too would return to normal someday.
Steam spilled from the top of the shower curtain, indicating it was ready to accept her into its cleansing embrace, so she begrudgingly stepped in. At first the heat of the water made her gasp and reach for the knob to cool it; little beads of lave rolling down her shoulder and back, but she instantly realized she had overreacted; it actually felt good. It was as if her body was so starved for stimuli that the water's temperature was a shock for her skin. But soon she tucked her head under the spray and felt its heat seep into her skull and melt away her depression. She stayed that way for a few minutes, just soaking it in, before she finally grabbed the shampoo and coaxed that into her hand.
It was an unexpected delight, really. She never would have thought that something as mundane as a shower could be so therapeutic, yet twenty-seven minutes after turning on the water, she emerged from tub a whole new woman.
Or at least a whole woman.