reign over me

私以上の雨

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The running temperature is too hot for comfort, but necessary at the start. At the beginning, it is what it is; a wash. I'm showering at this late hour of the night to try and remove the grime of the day. The physical residue is quick to escape down the drain, but I know that I won't be finished for another hour. Maybe more.

My aches run far deeper than a few scrapes across the knees.

I turn the knob further to invite a more intense heat, hesitating before I press my free hand against the wall before me and lean heavily under the pummel of hard rain. It doesn't feel right. Not yet close to the searing burn I wish to sensitize sleeping nerves, but it will have to do. Too cold for even the hint of a mist to rise up and fill the stall so that every breath I'm forced to take is thick with the taste of rain.

For now, I have to resort to this sort of cleansing.

It isn't much longer before the skin on my shoulders starts to tingle. Ah. My lips shift as I mumble a wordless thanks. Spine shifting, and I feel the corresponding muscles there loosen in response. A sigh as I roll my shoulders in a age long familiar shrug, leaning deeper into the stretch as the hot water continues to stream overhead and caress my form.

Painting. I have a large oil canvas waiting in the next room. I finished it just moments ago, but my chest is hollow feeling. I see nothing of myself within it' layers of paint. The bright colors laugh at me, and force me to turn away at each glance in defeat.

There was a time, I think, when I did paint for just myself.

I brood a lot. My thoughts are long and jagged, quick to snag neighboring ideas before and clear conclusion falls into sight. Wrinkles have yet to make their way across my pale features, but I can feel the crisscrossing trails they've made upon my bones. They shudder within me at my most vulnerable, and cause my heart to skip in fear. But all the same, I'm thankful. Without them, I'm sure I'd really be hopeless.

It isn't long before the heat of the shower forms a haze over my vision. It's dark, but I can feel the dense air brush against me, like the breath of a summer breeze as a storm moves in. There is a little light from my laptop, resting on the edge of the sink. Gentle piano and raspy acoustic filter softly through the small room, but I'm fading faster into a less rapt state. I slip down to my knees, careful as I go, and curl into the farthest corner of the stall, reclining my head back against the icy wall as I do.

From what little light sneaks past the cracks in the thick shower curtain, I am able to watch as small shadows dance overhead. I swallow and pull my knees up to my chest, holding them tightly bound within the circle of my arms. My eyes close, and I concentrate on the beat of my heart. The fall of false rain. The sensation of liquid heat seeping into my form as the emptiness within me swells in defiance. Behind my eyes, the world really is black, but a few dots of light spark, and I move them together with careful precision.

In this world of darkness, warmth and rain, I surrender the desires of my heart, and a figure begins to materialize. It's faint. Barely there. And yet, the sigh that escapes me is light with relief.

Here he is. And for now, here I'll stay. Hoping for sweet dreams this night, because wishing at any other time is out of the question. There's no room for it during the day, when the press of reality is so close the weight nearly crushes my heart. I'm tired of the disappointment.

I blame the books of fiction that spoiled my childhood.

He sits opposite me, taking up the remainder of the stall, and does not touch. Such an act would dispel the illusion instantly, and is forbidden. I dare not wish it, no matter how deeply I am within the dream. As welcome the vision is, the limitations of it still shake my heart.

In the end, this imagined presence is both stale and fleeting. Reality crushes down upon me, and my conviction wavers once more.

Dreams really do only get you so far.

Breathing gets difficult. The water has been too hot for too long. I know I need to get up and get out, or at least turn the temperature down to something bearable. I should show more effort, but I can't yet. I'm still to raw and feeling. The cool wall behind me births a shiver from my frame; a chilling contrast to the fiery heat thundering down from above.

I bite my lip and taste blood. Crying won't help, but it's all I can do at this point. I want to be held. I wish my mother was hear with me to tell me everything will be alright. But deep down, I'd never ask for such comfort from her. I just hit my 20th birthday, after all. Limbo year. No time to cry and trade insecurities with another.

I'll keep my weeping for the shower, since the tears of the sky are no longer entreated to hide my own.

When I finally move to turn off the water, I'm cold almost instantly. The familiar ache is back, and fresh tears dance across my eyes. I close them, searched for a remaining flicker of warmth, but the comforting presence is already gone, along with the rain. I spend the next ten minutes breathing quick and harsh past the clenched fist at my parted lips. Composing. Gathering courage for what comes next.

It's ten past 3 when I finally get the courage to crawl into bed. My heart is heavy.

But once again, my eyes are dry.

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thank you for reading.

Ally