I stormed down to the kitchen, my newfound anger returning. One night. Why couldn’t they be nice to me for just one night? I wet a rag and swiped the cursed dust off the top of the fridge. Took thirty seconds. Big deal. On the way back up to my room, though, I wandered slowly through the empty house with the rag, swiping at this and that. I felt so alone. In my efforts to stem the comments and potential sabotage that would doubtless have come my way if I had showed any sign of initiative, my personal pendulum had swung from hope back to helplessness, and I had resigned myself to not going to prom.
I found myself in Sylvia’s bathroom, staring at my limp hair, my baggy gray sweats in the toothpaste-spattered wall mirror. I smeared the spots around with my rag, thinking about getting the vinegar and water sprayer and some newspaper, and cleaning it properly, but… what was the use? Depression crept up from the soles of my feet, like evil magic vines twining up to pull me down. I struggled with, and succumbed, to the terrible self-talk, automatically bending down to wipe up the water on the floor from her shower, adding my tears to the puddle. I picked up the lavender bath towels. I folded them—in thirds—and hung them up again.
Creating order soothes me. And, as I mentioned before, there were sparkles inside my head that night. As I cleaned hair from the trap of the Jacuzzi Sylvia’d had installed, they gave me to a new idea.... Instead of just wiping fingerprints off the brass knobs, I could open the spigot, fill the bath with bubbles, and give myself a treat…like I used to in mom’s clawfoot tub before the remodel.
I pushed down the plug and opened the hot water tap, feeling possessed by the power of those two little words. Why not? I wiped around all of Sylvia’s bottles and potions, opening up each one until I found a smell I liked. But why stop there? As the bath filled, I washed my face with some sweet smelling almond foam, pulled open her makeup drawer, opened a tube of creamy lipstick, and drew on a bright coral mouth.
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