Fictional Beans

rituals versus taking a shower

“…boy, do I have feel dirty.” 

Tala liked to fit into small places. 

Back when she was little, she loved to hide inside the smallest compartment of a closet or a box and no one would find her. Her friends would grow tired looking for her so they would often find themselves announcing out loud that she is the grand champion of hide and seek—again. And while growing up, she grew fond of the feeling of being inside anyone’s embrace. The way they tighten their grip around her made her feel small and, to her, being small takes her out of harm’s way. 

But today Tala isn’t inside a closet or in the comfort of someone’s arms—she is inside a basin, which is half her size, filled with water. A bath tub would have been a better choice for her but she didn’t have the luxury to own one. 

And besides, bath tubs aren’t small enough

She had been sitting there for half an hour, tucking her knees and hugging them close to her chest while staring at nothing. This global crisis started out as a perfect excuse for Tala to stay home and avoid socializing, but after three weeks of self-isolation, she began losing interest in her own company so she’d often trick herself into avoiding her own thoughts. Luckily, two nights ago—right after she smoked the last nug of bud—she was enlightened by the fact that the more she cancels herself out, the more threatening her mind can become. 

So right now, sitting in the basin is her desperate attempt to make friends with herself again. 

She sighs audibly. “You can do this,” she says to herself, “I know it’s silly but you need to do this.”

It’s a quiet afternoon in her neighborhood and her words may have echoed farther than the tile walls within her bathroom. She takes a long deep breath. Then, she sinks her back lower so she could free her legs outside the basin. 

In the same two nights ago, she was reading a book about religions. The current chapter she was on discussed about rituals and how it helped people feel mentally “all right”. This is because the act of a ritual makes someone feel more committed to what they want to achieve. Tala figured, that if she could make a small ritual about cleansing her mind, it would be in the form of cleaning her own physical body because… 

“…boy, do I have feel dirty.” 

Slowly, she stretches her legs one by one and immediately starts rubbing them with her hands, removing all the dirt that she could. She didn’t want to feel dirty anymore. She starts with her foot and works her way vigorously to her thighs, chest, then up her arms. She rubs until her skin flushed red. Then she cleans the back of her neck and tried reaching what she could of her back. She grabs a soap and lathers herself all over. The basin is now filled with soap suds. 

Satisfied with what she accomplished, she gently stands up and steps out of the basin. She empties it and observes the dirty soap water drain itself out. She opens the faucet and waits for the basin to overflow. Then she grabs a water dipper and scoops fresh cold water from the basin. She held it high above her head and inhales deeply. She exhales and splashes herself to rinse. She repeats this a few times. The sunlight peaked through her bathroom window which made her smile because every time she splashes, little droplets of rainbows form beneath her. 

All done, she grabs a towel and covers herself then goes straight to her room. She disrobes and pats herself dry. Still naked, she lies facedown her bed with her eyes closed. The sun is illuminating her entire room now and the warmth of its rays touches her bare skin.

It almost felt like she’s being hugged.

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