My chest is calm and my head clear. An excitement that I had forgotten shows its head again. All worries and fears and the waiting work mean nothing anymore; they were washed away with the shower – or before that? Only my tickling legs remind me of the suffering that I avoided for so long: The run.
Trigger warning: This short story contains episodes of graphic sexual violence.
Gray tiles, some already chipped, all with greenish stains. Large sinks, rarely cleaned. Showerheads, large and too high to be reached.
Push the button. Wait for the water to get warm. Jump inside and quickly wash. Make sure that no one else sees too much. At that age it’s scary to be seen. What if the others have more hair or bigger things down there? Just don’t be seen.
Scary age. You grow into it and you when you think back you can’t see when you got into it. Maybe it was that first PE lesson after the summer; the one with the new teacher that said that we are soon men and will start to smell and all have to shower.
I was always one of the first. We all rushed in there, quick in, quick out. Not be seen. Continue reading
The first thing that people used to ask about were the bugs.
“I’m really sorry for that. I was born without a sense of smell.”
“Oh,” they always said. “But don’t you notice the bugs?”
The bugs. Everywhere. Of course I saw them, the way they followed me. Flies, mostly, but many others too.
It’s not that I didn’t want to shower. My mother too made me shower every day, she just never explained why. Nobody told me why. They all assumed I knew and rather than tell me that I smelled bad and how to fix it, they concluded that I was handicapped and thus just stupid or dirty or crazy.
In 22 years nobody told me that. For 22 years everybody assumed I was scary and creepy and stayed away from me. Continue reading