I’m sitting here, soaking in my bathtub; the aromas of my eucalyptus epsom salt mingles with the scents of the two different candles I have burning on both ledges of my tub. Tame Impala streams through my speaker, his voice rocks in tune with the rhythm of the water.

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I feel soothed as a I relax in the warm water. The epsom salt does its best to pull the toxins out of my body, and slowly but surely I relax into that process. I rub the tension out of my neck and shoulders as I remind myself that no season of life is permanent, that we’re in the middle of a pandemic, and feeling lonely is very common for a lot of people right now.

Being in the bath alone feels good though. Natural, really. I think back to all the baths I’d take with my sister when we were small children. We’d play for hours in the tub, our skin pruning right against our doll’s painted makeup.

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We had one game we particularly loved that we called the temperature game. One sister would close her eyes and turn her back to the faucets while the other sister would fill a cup using either the cold faucet or the hot faucet. The sister with her eyes closed and back turned would have to guess which faucet was used. If she was wrong, the cup would be dumped over her head. But if she was right, the other person had to dump the cup over their own head – but at least she was able to brace herself because she knew which temperature to expect. I personally preferred having the hot water dumped over my body, so I always filled the cup with the hot faucet. I’m not sure my sister ever really caught on to it.

I smile at the fond memories as I lean back against the warm water. My cat struts in to check on me, her fluffy tail shadowing her.

I reach my hand down to pet her and grab my notebook before she decides to lay on it, like she normally does right after I decide I want to write something. I look back through all my scribbled entries and lazy doodles when I drop my notebook right into my bath water. I snatched it up as quickly as I could – pure instinct kicking in. I was shocked as I gripped the soggy edges. Somehow, the entries from weeks ago survived the plunge, but more recent entries got very smeared and smudged. I suppose it was because I had lately been writing with a felt tip pen.

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I had been in a much better head space in the earlier weeks, and had been feeling down in most of the entries that were now water logged. So I went back and read through the entries that weren’t destroyed, days when I had been feeling upbeat and hopeful. Now I couldn’t even browse through my entries from my high anxiety days. It was like they had been completely wiped away.

I flipped forward through my notebook to all the blank, white pages and I was comforted there were so many of them. They meant I still had the opportunity to keep writing my story.