i've never felt so strange in my own body, she thinks.
she had let the shower get hotter than usual, maybe in an attempt to steam away the new problems.
now, face towards the tub floor, she feels the water hitting her skin, sliding down her body.
she looks at the curves and imagines them more pronounced,
wonders if the swelling has already begun.
but maybe there's nothing to swell, she reasons hopefully.
she wants to cry, but nothing comes out.
maybe they're being steamed away.
maybe it'll be steamed away.
she tries to picture the worst case scenario.
worst case scenario, isn't that what they say.
she scrunches up her face, her fingers scrub lighter than she wishes.
pain, shame, loneliness, it all flashes before her eyes,
images of her being that girl.
that girl, they'll say.
she had so much going for her, they'll say.
how did this even happen, they'll ask.
and she'll just stare because she won't have a better answer than anyone else.
she thinks this all now, standing still under the shower head, done with washing
but feeling like there's something more
like some dirt beneath the surface, something wrong flowing in her veins.
she imagines her next conversations, how they could be the worst of her life.
strained, awkward, full of heavy air, the kind she's used to but new in a sense.
they'll be new because this is new. she reasons that everyone must go through this sometime, yet even as she begins to think it, it doesn't feel true. she's alone.
she's been alone the last few days, walking under the burden of this new secret.
nothing has felt quite important. even now, in this bathroom, she wonders how this could possibly matter months from now. maybe years from now.
it'll matter, she admits, i guess. or maybe it won't. maybe this will all be nothing but an anecdote.
she tries to imagine retelling this story, in the other perspective, days and weeks from now. as she stretches and examines her arms in the mirror she tries to picture another man, more men, touching them. she tries to think this all funny, form words to fill letters to friends, oh i was so worried, she'll write, over nothing.
it wasn't possible really, she'll mockingly admit, as if she had been in on the joke all along, as if she knew this all wasn't a real threat.
but now, it is all very real. and as soon as these thoughts begin to take shape in the steam, they disappear at the sharp face in the mirror.
she's distracted, she can't help it, it's become a habit in the last few days, to steal a glance at her stomach in the mirror, to run a hand across her belly, poking skin and feeling the tension and muscles beneath.
she does that now, trying to detect any change.
no, she thinks, not yet.