It’s the moment of the day you’ve been waiting for. You strip down out of your restraining clothes and step into the cold, pale chamber. You turn the knob and feel the water splash against your body, adjusting the temperature to the most optimal setting. A shiver runs down your spine as you feel the worries of your mind melt away as does the dirt of the daily routine. You take a moment to revel in the warm splashing of the water jets against your back and chest. Soon after, you apply the products; shampoo, conditioner, and body wash all at your own leisure. You try not to think of all the stressful woes of the time beforehand, nor of all the tasks that still needed to be done after. Right now, this time is just for you. It’s the most relaxing time of the day.

Or it would be, if not for having to wash your face. Such a simple, insignificant task, you think, but when you begin lathering the soap in your hands to apply it to your face, you begin to think of the time it will take you to rinse it off. Three seconds? Five seconds? Maybe even nine whole seconds? It’s the time, in which, you become fully aware of your unremarkable vulnerability. You’re surrounded by walls on all three sides. You cannot see beyond the shower curtain on your only side to freedom. You have no means of defense or anywhere to hide. When you begin rinsing off the soap from your face, you cannot see anything at all. You think about possibly keeping your eyes open during this part, so as to not hinder yourself from any possible danger further, but you know that the soap would only trickle down into them, causing you to clamp your eyes shut anyway. For that brief window of time, your mind conjures horrific images of what could possibly be lurking around you, waiting to take advantage of your most vulnerable moment. You know there’s nothing out there; you were just looking around and there was nothing. It would be silly to think otherwise, right?

If that’s what you’d like to believe, then sure. However, one of these days you’re going to wipe your eyes clear of soap and water, or reach out from behind the curtain to grab your towel, to find something that you know was not there before. My shrunken, smiling face staring back at you in the bleached box. My shriveled hand waiting patiently for yours atop your towel. I have numerous ways to instill terror and pain from when you are most vulnerable.

But, trust me, you have nothing to fear. You just keep doing what you’re doing, relaxed and sedated. There’s nothing on the other side of the curtain.

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