I look up at the pink tiles, wet with the spray of warm water from a leaking shower head. The small rectangular cube is illuminated by a single light above, its golden glow makes shadows of the falling water droplets and the one thin, glistening body that stands in the center, doing its best to avoid contact with the tiles.
Is this mine?
Is this me?
I look to my left, the tan plastic shower curtain. With slightly squinted eyes, I slowly turn my head to the right. Strangeness invades. This is a body I clean, with warm water and soap…I do what I have been taught, the necessary steps to maintain this body. But this is simply that…a body, a biological machine that needs to be scrubbed clean from time to time, to prevent the accumulation of pungent smells and flies.
But the tiles seem unreal.
No, they seem too real.
Small pink squares, line after line of them decorate the interior of this stall. Blue bottles, plastic jars and razor blades. An array of soaps and scrubbing devices. I know these instruments, these objects, but they are strangers of plastic and colors.
Startled, yet manifesting calmness, I continue in a progression of learned habits. Soap lathering, hair scrubbing, face washing. My brain asks, "am I here?" And I am, in this exact moment of alert attention, surrounded by the new vision of wet tiles and billowing steam, something is here.
The human, the cynic with all the answers, has been tucked aside, momentarily silenced by a flowing river of crystalline liquids and fast moving currents. Something new and startled emerges, blinking into the warm mist and bright light. The moment laughs and tumbles, spins and skips like a dandelion running on the breeze. The body holds steady, with soapsuds and streams of water cascading off mountainous pink nipples.
And the seconds roll out like a never ending line of marching soldiers, meeting the future with a series of soundless explosions and colorless paintings. The endless wheel in motion, made of sewn body parts and purple ribbons, it turns and turns, moving like a backwards clock. The past and the future forever maintain their stations on the periphery, along the gentle curving arcs that create the sides and roof; the only constant is constantly moving. Past and future melt together, fusing at the juncture which touches earth. Rolling so quickly as to be barely recognizable, the present blends with the movements that reach both in front of and behind it.
The water continues to run, quickly finding its escape from the moment.