by super sleuth
Who controls life, you, or the shower?
The droning buzz echoing in the darkness awakened me from a sound sleep. The sweltery room, illuminated only by an eerie ray of moonlight cast a broken glow across the cedar hope chest near the window. Cascading toward the bare tiled floor and continuing its upward flight, the golden beam ended its journey halfway across my sprawled bare legs. Beads of unwanted sweat trickled down my forehead, stinging my eyes on its downward journey. Wiping away the salty moisture with the back of my hand, only caused my eyes to burn even more.
The linens on my bed reeked with the stench of sweat, urine and feces, making it impossible for me to lie there any longer. Sitting up, I swung my legs painfully over the edge of the bed, and placed my feet gingerly onto the cool surface of the tiled floor, my feet searching in the darkness for the comfort of my slippers. Slipping them on, I then forcefully pushed my aching body up off the padded mattress. My arthritic riddled body, was unwilling to cooperate at four-thirty in the morning. Limping across the room, the bathroom door seemed an eternity away.
My eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness and were now able to focus on the sparse furnishings in my room, making it easier for me to navigate my way across the floor.
Turning on the bathroom light, I slowly walked toward the mirror, and stared in horror at my reflection. Pressing my forehead to it's cool surface, I hoped to ease the agonizing pain throbbing in my head. My feverish body was making it even more difficult for me to function, then it already was.
Needing relief from the heat, I decided to take a cool shower. Sliding my soiled nightshirt off my slumped shoulders, I let it slip ungracefully to the floor. It's soiled mounded appearance, a blemish against the purity of the white tiled floor. Pushing the moldy shower curtain aside, I reached in for the handle to turn on the much needed respite from the heat. I patiently waited for the water to reach the desired temperature.
Although only 54 years old, my pain ravaged body gave me the appearance of being a much older woman. Looking at my reflection, I no longer recognized the person I had become. My dull thinning gray hair no longer gleamed with health and vitality. Gaunt wrinkled features, with sad lifeless eyes stared back at me.
Recollections of younger, happier times were slowly disappearing from my memory. Soon, all I'll have left to remember, is the pain. With tears forming in my eyes, I bowed my head and whispered a silent prayer.
"Dear Lord, please forgive any sins I may have
committed, I welcome you into my heart. Protect my family from evil. For I am your obedient servant, and please, help me get through this day without too much pain. Amen"
As I stepped into the shower, and closed the curtain behind me, I shivered as the first cool drops beat down upon my overheated body. I savored the glorious feeling of the refreshing liquid as if it were my first shower in years. Truly, a treasure to be enjoyed.
With each passing minute my body seemed to rejuvenate itself. As I inhaled the perfumed fragrance of the bar of soap, I methodically turned it in my hands and watched the lather foam up as if it were some strange new invention.
After scrubbing each arm in its turn, I marveled at how much easier my muscles and joints seemed to function. As the soapy water cascaded downward and traveled over my breasts, my breathing seemed less labored. Leaning forward to cleanse my private parts I thought of my husband and the numerous sensual pleasures we shared taking showers together. Bending lower still, I scrubbed each leg one at a time, feeling each muscle relax as I worked the soapy lather into each pore. Gently massaging my toes with the, mulberry scented soap, the pain in each joint eased up until it was only a dim memory. Finally, standing up straight for the first time in many years, I reached for the shampoo, and as I washed my hair thoroughly, I noticed the agonizing pain in my head was almost gone.
After rinsing the lather from my hair, I watched the soapy rivulets travel down the length of my body, undulating it's way downward, and pooling like a snow capped mountain on top of the drain. Like a snake unwinding itself, long strands of foamy liquid snaked its way around the silvery ring and slithered into the darkened abyss, taking with it all my pain and suffering. My body, now purged of impurities, felt years younger. As I reached to turn off the water, I watched mesmerized as the last remnants of my baptism disappeared. Feeling reborn, I pulled aside the curtain, and stepped into....a new world.
Although everything seemed as it was. I knew nothing would ever be the same.
Reaching for the towel I dried my hair and wiped the moisture from my naked body. The strength I felt within me was amazing. As the towel caressed my skin, sensations of pleasure began to resurface, sensations long ago dismissed as an unnecessary torment, now seemed warm and inviting.
Upon the steam off of the mirror, I dropped the towel, and was amazed at what I saw. The years had seemed to fade away as if I had drunk from the Fountain of Youth. Although my hair remained gray, my skin glowed with a new youthful look. I was no longer gaunt and wrinkled, but soft and smooth like a babies bottom. I looked and felt as I did when I was only twenty nine years old.
Cupping my breasts in each hand I felt the firmness of youth. My hands slid lower admiring my now slender waist and firm flat abdomen. Thinking back on my prayer, I whispered, "This was much more than I had asked for. Thank you Lord for a second chance."
I carefully dressed, fixed my hair, and put on what little make-up I found. After admiring the new me, I left the bathroom. It was five-thirty in the morning according to the clock on the night stand. The sun was beginning to peek it's head above the horizon. I could hear people stirring in the hallway.
Anxious to talk to someone about my rejuvination, I decided to call my daughter. Dialing her number I let it ring several times.
A sleepy voiced answered, "Hello, who's calling at this hour of the morning? This had better be important."
"Sammy, it's me honey, mommy." I spoke softly into the receiver. "I was thinking about you and I just needed to hear your voice. I just wanted to tell you, that I love you. Go back to bed now honey, I'm sorry I woke you up. I'll talk to you again. Good-bye Sammy, I love you."
I stripped the bed of the soiled linens, and then proceeded to straightened up both rooms. Finding clean linens I made the bed.
Feeling tired after all this exertion I decided to lie down for a nap. The droning buzz of the alarm clock lulled me quickly into a deep, deep sleep.
Sammy, upset by the mysterious phone call. Quickly got dressed and headed to the nursing home
where her mother resided in a coma, for the last three months.
Upset, and very angry, Sammy proceeded to the nurses station.
"Who's in charge here? I want to know who is playing this cruel joke on me?" Sammy screamed to a short, overweight, gray haired nurse in uniform.
"Calm down miss. What exactly are you so upset about?" the nurse asked. "Who is playing a joke on you?"
"I don't know, but about fifteen minutes ago I received a phone call from some woman who claimed to be my mother." Sammy yelled at the nurse.
"She sounded just like my mother."
"What's so strange about that? All our residents have phones in their rooms. They can use the phones any time they want to." she said to Sammy.
"Are you nut's? My mother couldn't have used the phone. She's been in a coma for the last three months." She thought about what the doctors told her three months ago as she sat in their office looking at the e-xrays. The brain tumor was too far advanced, there was nothing they could do. That feeling of hopelessness she had then was now replaced by anger and a sense of...hope.
"Sit here dearie, calm down, I'm sure there is some sensible explanation for all this." the nurse cooed as she tried to soothe the upset visitor. I don't need this now, why couldn't she wait just fifteen more minutes and I would be off duty, she thought. "Let me call the doctor for you, maybe he can give you a sedative to calm you down." The nurse added.
"I don't want a sedative!" Sammy cried, tears streaming down her face. "I just want to know who the mean person was that called me tonight."
"I'm the only one on duty tonight, and I only made one phone call to a Miss Mallory at three-thirty A.M., telling her that her mother passed away," the nurse stated.
"That's right. I'm Samantha Mallory, you called ME. What kind of game are you playing at?" Sammy yelled.
"What are you talking about? I'm not playing any games. I'm sorry your mother died Miss Mallory, but it wasn't my fault. I called you as soon as it happened. The doctor pronounced her dead at three-thirty, just like I said on the phone."
"Then who called me at five-thirty claiming to be my mother? Sammy asked.
"Why, uh, I don't know? We got a new admission right after your mother died, and I have been swamped with paperwork, the aides have been busy preparing the room for our new guest, and we havn't even had a chance to clean your mother up yet." she confided in Sammy. "I'm terribly sorry, I'll take care of her right now so you can see her." Rising to her feet, the nurse proceeded to room 104.
A few moments later she came running down the hallway, a terrified look on her face. Grabbing the phone off it's cradle she dialed for the doctor on duty.
Sammy, aware of the nurses strange behavior, proceeded down the hall and entered room 104.
There lying on the bed was Sammy's mother,
resplendant in her favorite dress, looking more beautiful then Sammy remembered. Her elbows were bent and her hands lay across her chest clutching her Bible and her white, beaded rosary. A relaxed smile gave a peaceful appearance to her features.
Her body seemed to radiate a glow as the moonlight
engulfed her being. Stunned by what she saw, Sammy couldn't help but wonder, if her mother did call her, bidding her a final good-bye.