Once naked, I imagine myself to be some place else in time. Far away from the cold confines of my home and the dysfunctional harangues of my marriage. The warm steam fills the cold air with a sweaty mist and I am ready to leave my problems on the floor. When the temperature reaches a degree that would probably be to hot for most, I step into the claw foot tub without any thought for what I am leaving behind. In the nude, I am a threat to no one, innocent again. I am vulnerable to the whims of the world but alone in the privacy of a hot shower.
The first thing I do is warm my body and head (because I do believe the two are separate) with the hot water that is pouring against my fragile body. I think for a moment about death, but then comfort myself with humid deep breaths that open my lungs. I turn from back to front and front to back allowing the hot water to open all of my clogged up pores. I then lather my lanky body with a cinnamon soap that is carved in the shape of the Buddha. I suck in deeply the aromatic sweet and sour smell of the soap as I cover myself with its salve. The soap sizzles on my sensitive skin creating red spots that I sometimes confuse for boils. There are no sounds other than that of running water and the voices in my head. I clean my feet, thighs, buttocks, penis, chest, underarms and face- with a consistency that leaves me feeling untarnished by dirt or dust. Once this ritual cleansing has ended I then proceed to wash my hair with shampoo.
I use a natural shampoo that is made in Oregon and leaves my hair without dandruff or soot. It prevents my head from aching and it also limits the amount of negative thoughts that I think up. A lot has been going on in my mind as of late, and this shampoo lathers my thoughts with a preventative measure. My brain ceases to think about my impending separation from my wife or my fear of small, closed in spaces (like the shower). I am no longer feeling accents of anxiety or over heating pulsations of my heart. I am tranquil for as long as the herbal shampoo sits on my head and I can breath with a calm that evades me the rest of the day.
While the shampoo is still in my hair I take that time to clean out my ears and brush my degenerating gums and teeth. The toothbrush I use is long and cotton bristled and it has a particular knack for getting food out from small spaces. The toothpaste I use is a salt solution that claims to kill the bacteria which swim around in our mouths without any regard for human life. They spend their days eating away our gums so that in the end we are left with painful abrasions and aching molars. I brush my teeth, without the sensitivity that I have been told to use- but rather I brush with the determination of a man who has declared war upon an invading army. Once I am done with my frontal attack, I wash out my mouth with shower water and then proceed to empty the shampoo from my mind, head and hair.
The heat at this point begins to agitate my heart. I can feel its irregular gyrations that are usually the result of too much heat. I reduce the temperature of the water slightly and continue with my daily ablutions. I clean my face with a seaweed solution that my wife brought back from Spain. She yells at me whenever I use it, but I have learned to only abduct trace amounts of the solution so that she can not detect anything missing. I let this coral solution sit upon my face for five minutes and during this time I will normally apply a conditioner to my hair. At this point in my shower I normally used to masturbate. My reasoning is that it not only relaxes me, but after I orgasm in the shower I am able to wash down all of the remaining sperm with the conditioner in my hair and the coral solution on my face. This will guarantee that not a trace of my sperm will be left for my wife to detect on the tub floor. I like to leave the shower as I found it.
I have been abstaining from masturbation as much as possible lately. My hopes is to break free from any kind of sexual addiction I may have developed over the past 36 years of my life. I do believe that it is unhealthy to repress our sexual inclinations (this leads toward the individual becoming aggressive and irrational) but I have masturbated so much in my life that I can afford to abstain for a few months. Without masturbation, my showering ritual does feel incomplete, but I am learning to adjust to where I am at. I wash the remaining seaweed solution from my face and conditioner from my hair with a sadness that seems to come forth towards any ending. I turn off the hot water that has turned my entire body a velvety red color and I step onto the bah mat cleansed and a little less corrupted than I was when I first stepped into the shower. I dry my fragile body off with a 100% cotton towel and take a few deep breaths of the remaining warm steam. Because of my masturbatory habits the past few weeks when I get out from the shower I am left with an erection. I assume this is a result of my physiology which has been conditioned to associate showers with orgasm. Now that I am “attempting” to abstain from masturbation I have to wait a full five minutes for my erection to dissipate. I use q-tips to clean out my ears, apply deodorant to my underarms and between my butt and then open the bathroom door where I walk into the world that for ten minutes or so, I was glad to leave behind.