Life's A Bath and Then You Die
I closed my eyes and enjoyed the sensation of being fully immersed in the hot, fragrant water. Is it the womblike peace that makes bathing so primally satisfying? I think it must be. The flashes of lightning and the distant rumble of thunder fed expectant air through the window above the tub. It smelled green and alive. I breathed deeply, savoring the tang of spring and the promise of rain. I felt fully relaxed for the first time in days.
And then I noticed a worm in the bathwater.
I sat up abruptly with a mighty slosh.
"Where the hell did that little fucker come from?!?"
It was just a little inchworm, but I was indignant that the squirmy little bastard had invaded the sanctity of my bath and tainted the water with his...worminess. I had been outside earlier, securing items in the yard in anticipation of the coming storm. He must have fallen into my hair from one of the trees. Not his fault then; just an accident of fate. He was probably as indignant as I was at finding himself afloat in scalding hot lavender scented water inhabited by a creature several thousand times his size who could crush him with one digit.
It did occur to me to do just that, truth be told.
But as I sat there wondering what on earth to do about the worm in my bathwater (scream for my husband, use my bathbrush to fling him out the window, pulverize him with the pumice stone), something struck me. He was doomed, clearly. And yet he struggled valiantly. He refused to accept that he might meet his end there in my bathtub. He refused to accept that he might never see his wife or his wormlings ever again. He fought as if there was hope, though of course, there was none.
Suddenly, I pitied him. Without another thought, I scooped him up and deposited him onto the edge of the tub. But it was too late. He was completely still, no evidence of inchiness remained in the tiny segmented body. Then I felt profoundly sad for that little worm. Lately I too had felt as though I was being swept along by forces over which I had no control; my stroke, husband's job loss, my mother's death, Diminutive One's continual persecution by cretinous bullies.
"Poor little worm..." I lamented. "....he fought so hard."
To my astonishment and chagrin, I felt myself near tears. I scolded myself for being so stupidly sentimental over a worm, though of course I knew deep down that my sorrow wasn't just about the demise of a little purple inch worm. But as I sat there mourning, there was a twitch. And then a wriggle. And then a full fledged inch. He humped and straightened slowly; testing, unbelieving perhaps, that he had actually survived the maelstrom of my bath. And then he began to inch away from the puddle in which he lay with frantic vigor.
I smiled hugely, unbelievably cheered by his remarkable resurrection. I watched him go on his merry way and resolved to relocate him to the window sill when I was done bathing so he could make his way outside.
After a lengthy soak, I finished my pampering; a minty mask for my face, a vigorous pumicing for my feet and elbows, eyebrow shaping and thorough depilation of all the areas that had been sadly neglected in the past weeks. I didn't skimp on the expensive shaving cream I favor, and revelled in the rich, creamy feel of the inch thick layer of foam on my legs. The suds were flying as the razor skimmed along my newly muscled calves. I admired the clean, sleek look of them.
Lost in my hedonistic ablutions, it took me a few moments to realize that Wormy was nowhere in sight. When finally I did, I was gripped by panic.
"Oh My God, where is WORMY?"
And yes, it did occur to me that my undue concern over the welfare of a worm was a bit cuckoo bananas. But nevertheless, I scanned the bathroom for signs of his inchy purpleness. He couldn't have scaled the wall to the window sill, he hadn't descended to the floor. And then I saw it. A single mound of creamy white foam on the edge of the tub, probably flung astray in my depilating zeal.
"Oh Wormy no....please, no, NO......"
But yes. I had inadvertantly buried wormy under an avalanche of shaving cream, thus ending the life I had celebrated only a short time earlier. There would be no resurrection this time. Morosely, I emptied the tub and rinsed his corpse along with his foamy grave down the drain. As I watched him slip over the edge, I thought to myself...
"Well that really sucks."
The moral of the story? Hell, I don't know. I guess that...sometimes, no matter how hard you try, no matter how well things are going, some bitch with a can of shaving cream can come along and fuck it all up.
I sure hope my next bath is less....eventful.