I think I need to take a shower

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Amanda Bartolovic

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I think I need to take a shower

Barricaded from the outside world, I stood behind my balcony door the other day. Although, it could’ve been any day because I find myself in this position often, staring into my backyard for a minute or two. This time, however, I felt the burden of a nagging thought, and it completely disrupted my morning.

I turned to my mother, who was coincidentally sipping coffee two feet away from me and my pesky thoughts, and I told her I felt dirty.

With my shoulders wet from my leaking hair, having just taken a shower, I must’ve looked absurd. Looking perplexed, she asked me to explain. I told her it was difficult to put into words. I didn’t know how I could explain it without sounding like I’ve misplaced my senses.

The glass door next to me reflected a girl who was physically clean and untainted, yet I felt uncomfortably unclean, not morally or physically, but mentally.

Three days later, the thought still hasn’t surrendered, and the dirt remains.

My mother blames the weather.

It’s too cloudy and too cold, she says.

Maybe the frigid air has numbed my thoughts. Maybe the constant presence of clouds has turned my vision slightly grey, a gloomy, restless grey. But the winter air is so fresh and so crisp that she could not possibly blame the weather.

The winter air is too clean for it to be liable for this dingy feeling. It cannot fully explain why a layer of dirt lies unnaturally on my skin.

My mind wants to blame the perfunctory routine of a normal day.

The habitual repetition of sleep and work that I’ve always associated with comfort has recently felt like a monotonous, dull blur. But maybe it’s always been the same, and I just haven’t noticed the drab atmosphere until now.

I need something to blame, though. So, I blame the countless prosaic moments because they’ve become so unchanged that dust has settled onto their surfaces like unwanted books, dust that finds its way onto my skin to join the rest of the dirt. The filth. The vulgar, undesirable feeling.

I need something to blame; that’s what I tell myself to ease my mind, at least. But placing blame is as effective as making the dirt disappear by closing my eyes. It’s useless, and the dirt refuses to leave, whether or not the unforgiving clouds loom over me as I continue my often senseless work.

But when I view my reflection, I am only reminded that I cannot see the reflection of my mind.”

I feel the filth dragging down my skin, yet when I look out the window, my reflection stares back at me, untouched, stainless.

I’ve tried taking showers in an attempt to get rid of this feeling, but no matter how much soap I use, this feeling withholds. No matter how hard I scrub, I feel as though a stain remains, and it taunts me, laughing maniacally like it’s won a game.

Every time I pass by a window or a mirror with my reflection reappearing, my thoughts become increasingly disarrayed; this “game”  becomes increasingly chaotic. But when I view my reflection, I am only reminded that I cannot see the reflection of my mind.

My skin isn’t dirty, but dust lies on the surface of my thoughts.

So, maybe I need to take another shower but not with water.

I need a way to wipe off the dust by reading a book I’ve never touched, and I need to rinse off the dingy feeling produced by the neverending clouds by going outside to remind myself of the purity of the air.

I need to clean my mind and break away from the dull routine to rid of this dirt, and I’ve realized that I don’t necessarily need water and soap to wash it away.

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