I walked in the bathroom, and looked at my reflection in the mirror. I turned around, turned the tap to the hottest setting, and turned the water flow on. I shifted my gaze back to the mirror, and tried to register what I was seeing; I tried to return to the present.
I never knew it was possible for someone to feel so tired. I blinked. I felt like my body was drained from all blood, my mind drained from thoughts, my energy drained from the everyday. I grabbed the plastic shower gel bottle, opened it, squeezed it softly close to my nose, and took a sharp inhale, my nostrils trapping the scent in. I closed my eyes, extended my hand, and tightened my grip. I felt the gel rushing out, and by the time I was able to let go, half of the contents were out.
The room started filling up with steam quite quickly. I looked at the mirror, fogging from edge to edge. When it was fully covered with a thin layer of steam, I reached and put my palm on top of it. It felt cool. I took my hand away, and there was a trace of five fingers and a palm, the steam rushing into it, soon covering it up.
I grabbed the sides of the bath and lowered my body down. The water was scorching. I welcomed the pain. It was as if the water was pushing my legs like a hand, grasping them and squeezing them in the tightest embrace.
Last Friday was my last day at work. From the beginning to the end, it was a big confirmation that I am doing the right thing. I trained my replacement (everyone is replaceable), talked to my senior managers, the directors, and even the chairman (something that took me by surprise), finished my shift, and caught myself smiling on the way out. I was outside now.
Since then I went to Ikea, had Swedish meatballs with cranberry sauce, bought new furniture, went to the Olympics, refused to shave (I look like a wookie), wore flannel shirts and trainers, made a list of things I want to achieve, made a list of lists I want to make, and content, I looked at all my plans for the two free weeks I have until my internship starts.
I started getting a cold yesterday. I sneezed and sniffed and had a peppermint tea and could not smell the peppermint. You see, I have what I have named the ‘relaxation cold’, something that I always get almost immediately after my mind realises that I can afford to relax.
The moment my brain registers that I can let go, my body floods with the stress that I so skilfully ignored all this time. My organism so weakened that will not be able to cope another day on this hectic rat race gives up, and demands attention.
I had my whole schedule planned for the days between the end of this job and the beginning of my internship, and now my incessant sniffing, frequent sneezing and occasional coughing means that the schedule is changed.
For the first time in a long time, I am happy with not achieving any of the goals I set, and as I bring the paper in front of me, I realise that (true to form) I set them too high.
For the first time in a long time, I am happy with just lying in a tub with scorching water, bubbles covering the skin around my toes, the steam covering my handprint on the mirror almost completely by now. A part of my life closed, and now I will rest until the new one starts.
Thank you all for being so incredibly supportive,