Clogging the Drain

It’s coming off in thick goopy layers and hits the porcelain tub with a sickening thud.

I have to keep switching wash clothes, throwing the used ones behind me next to the sink. The shower drain threatens to clog for the hundredth time.

“Why am I doing this again?” I ask myself silently.

The short answer is because I have to. The long answer involves explaining why deep inside I’m terrified of being alone.

My soul needs constant validation, or it will float away. Like a child’s balloon at the Fair where Denny could surely win a shiny blue ribbon for world’s hairiest back.

The weekly de-furring, which uses half a bottle of family sized Nair, is not entirely selfless. I have to share a bed with him, and I hate when he pulls his T-shirts up in the back to hide the hair encroaching on his neck. It leaves the front slack and billowing, accentuating his overweight physic.

I’ve made plenty of comments about the extra twenty pounds, prompting him to ask our doctor for weight loss amphetamines. My disdain is not strong enough to prompt him to do any real exercise.

Fine with me, I like stealing some of his pills.

I finally get the last of the coarse black hair off his lower back and tell him I’m finished. The Nair bottle comes with a small plastic spatula for the hair removal. It reminds me of an infomercial for a paint stripper that turns green when the paint is ready to be scraped off. Cheap wash clothes work better. I throw them away when Dennys not looking.

No one wants a eye full of back pubes when they’re washing their face.

It’s Valentine’s day, and I made reservations at the restaurant in the Monaco Hotel across the street. We can’t afford to eat there. We are the working poor, drowning in debt, the American way. Everything looks shiny and new.

I called one of the credit card companies and told them someone else must have been using my card. They give me a couple hundred dollars back for the massage place downtown and my daily pharmacy excursions.

One of my lesser frauds, but these things keep me up at night.

We dress in business clothes and hold hands as we cross the street. I order a Ketel One martini and gulp the bitter liquid.

I don’t want to be here.

I start talking about work, the thing that brought us together. He’s vicious in his appraisal of our coworkers, and it’s the only time I laugh when I’m with him.

Let’s not talk about work….let’s talk about us,” he says.

I shudder and tell him I have to go to the bathroom.

I stand at the sink and swallow a handful of pills from two different doctors. There’s hair peeking out of the drain.

This is the life I’ve been told I should want, destiny prescribed at birth.

This is happiness, obscured by piles of tiny black hairs.

I force a smile as I sit back down and order another drink.

This is happiness.

This is what I want.