Down the Drain

Sarai plugged up the drain and turned on the hot water. She grabbed the ocean-scented candle and her new, fancy arc lighter from the bookshelf in her bedroom and sauntered back to the bathroom. She lit the candle, admiring how the purple lighting created a flame, and placed it on the counter.

Even though the tub was taking its time to get half full of water, she started to take off her clothes. Her phone dinged, reminding her that she needed to put on do-not-disturb. The message was a meme from her boyfriend Adam. Sarai’s stomach twisted as she thought about how she declined his offer to come over earlier, but she needed some alone time. She put the phone on do-not-disturb and set it on the counter. 

She switched the faucet from hot to cold and took off the rest of her clothes. Sarai rested her hand on the nape of her neck, her curly kitchens caressing her fingers. Her stomach sank at the thought of wash day this weekend. She’d probably stick with twists again even though she kind of wanted to do something different. Her twists and subsequent twist outs never let her down. She wasn’t sure she’d be in the mood to fix any experiments gone wrong. 

Sarai turned off the water and stuck her arm in to check the temperature. It was nice. She slipped into the tub and sighed. The hot water felt like a hug. Sarai grabbed her rag, ready to wash off the day and watch the clear water turn murky. 

She was probably the only person who liked watching the water transition. Something about it felt spiritual—watching the dirt from the day sink into the water and then disappear down the drain. 

“What can wash away my sins?” Her mother sang, washing five-year-old Sarai’s back in the tub.

“Nothing but the blood of Jesus!” Sarai sang enthusiastically. 

Sarai half-smiled at the memory. The love for her mother was still bright and full like the moon, but her faith had waned. Watching her devout mother fade away from colon cancer had withered up her faith. There was still a crescent-sized something there. God was still real, His grace abounding. Sometimes her questions were bigger than God. Other times it was her sadness; other times still, her anger. Sometimes grief makes a mosaic of hope. And as more years pass, the more pieces Sarai can gather to make a new hope. She could see herself being the prodigal daughter and her father would be pleased to hear that she had found her way back home. In his grief, he found rest in his faith. Sarai was happy that the church had kept him calm and busy. Sarai remembered being so exhausted from pretending like her tears wouldn’t drown her or that her anger wouldn’t burn her up from the inside. She kept her feelings hidden because she had heard about all the prayers for peace, but never felt any. She knew her mom was in a better place, but couldn’t shake the wrongness of her not being there. Sarai pretended she was fine to keep the saccharine smiles on folks faces instead of asking questions and receiving more prayers.

She went on to wash her legs, now having finished washing the top half of her body. She wanted to stop thinking about her mom, but she conceded that grief, the deep, aching kind with loss, was a hard thing for most to grasp. It was an emotional tornado that could wreck any day. And a few other people who had understood that tornado and hung onto their faith had offered her space to feel all those emotions years after the funeral. And that’s when she first started to feel any sort of peace.

Sarai rinsed off with a quick shower while the tub drained. After she dried off with her towel, she paused to watch the water drain. She had no bad memories from today she wanted to pretend were disappearing down the drain so she thought about the long term ones—stupid fights with her mother when she was a teenager who thought her mother would live forever and the permanently blocked guy who she wished she had never met. She also thought about her anxiety and subsequent self-doubt vanishing. When Sarai felt sadness start to creep in, she had decided she had dwelled too long and carefully carried her burning candle into her room.

She played some lofi while she moisturized her skin and slipped on some pajamas. Sarai made peace with her feelings and memories before blowing out the candle. She reminded herself that her feelings were valid and that she didn’t go through things to learn lessons. She took what she learned to protect herself and heal and make better decisions. She replied to Adam’s meme and walked into the kitchen. She reached up to grab a wine glass, leaning up on her tiptoes. She poured a hearty amount of wine in her glass and plopped down on the couch, determined to find a solid B movie to enjoy.


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