Her

By Charlote Audley-Coote

The room is filling up with steam as she takes a long shower to get ready. She’s been thinking, thinking, thinking for forty-five minutes now. She lies on her back hugging her knees in the cramped space, and looks up at her scattered thoughts rising above the steam, hanging upon the cobwebs that cling to the cracking white paint. She has to be strong; she has to get ready now. She imagines the water droplets as small souls descending from the sky, as if encasing her with the strength and wisdom of their immorality. She is reminded that her story is not new, that many women have walked it before her. The droplets fall and break onto her back, but the water is not frail. It does not shatter into a million broken pieces but melds and moulds and evaporates. It changes form but it is always connected, it always reassembles. She is reminded that like her life, like the life of women before her, the essence of water survives. She gets out of the shower thinking and breathing softly through the vapour and folding herself into the person she has to be.

She walks back to her apartment in the early morning, slowly shuffling on the footpath and breaking the early morning silence. She thinks of the confines of her life, in the same way that the laws of physics hold her body to this earth. She cannot touch it or see it, but gravity demands that her feet only go so far before being pulled back onto the footpath.  As she stretches her arms towards the sky and arches her back though, she thinks about how the rays of sun which kiss her forehead have travelled through a galaxy to meet her. That, the warmth on her face is evidence of a world different to her own, of her capacity to know more than what this one tells her. She would like to think that those small fragments of sun where little messages from a secret and untouched place, embracing her with sweet words to sooth her sore and tired muscles as she struggles on. As she walks up the steps and opens the creaking door to her apartment, she changes form again, forever embodying all the counters and crevices that she needs to. Keeping the courage and conviction of the elements close by, she is ready for another day.

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