Nightmares, Bath Towels, and Lemonade

So, I will be out of town for a week again as of tomorrow morning. So that means no posts next week.
Just letting you know. Thanks for reading.

I wake up and my field of vision is alive and teeming with fresh static trying to force me under again. I’m covered in a strangling and liberating sweat from some incoherent nightmare. I must still be straddling that line to the subconscious because the bathtub I’m lying in feels like pins and needles on my backside. Every item on the counter has a sharp edge and every bottle filled up with some sort of solution to break down my insides.

It smells like the light’s been on too long; hours maybe. It’s hot, the air ready to burn me if I move for escape.

My tongue is swollen with the bad taste of bacteria and I fear some deadly cocktail from one of those bottles has already found its way into my system.

There’s that yellow towel, hanging by the door. I carefully slide my hand toward it just to feel its flimsy grittiness and I have this faint suckerpunch of memory about those rivets grating against the skin of my neck, a quiet struggle to scream, to free myself from its malicious tightening. It’s sturdy, made of tight, compact material. It could extinguish me like a candle flame, easily.

Its yellow hue is almost identical to that lemonade that you make in the summertime, the one that comes from the jar of powder and tastes like too much sugar. Some hazy, almost transparent memory of a back porch and sweating glasses comes to me in the midst of the hot light and chill of dark morning. Lemonade sounds like heaven to my parched tongue. Summer calm sounds like salvation to my racing heart.

I think of our stacks of pool towels in cubbies all freshly laundered and ready for June. They’re softer and larger, more colorful than this bath towel. I catch glimpses of them folded around my waist and pressing into my back in my mind’s eye. The towels and memories and sugary lemonade mix into a solution of desire for summer and warmth and thunderstorm security in this half-filled winter.

I make my way downstairs, the steps tripping up my shaky sea legs, to see if we’ve still got lemonade powder stored somewhere in the back corner of the pantry. It’s there. I can see the squatty yellow jar before I start digging through soup cans. Before I’ve got time to think about it, the rising water from the faucet is drowning an island of the yellow powder. The slow gurgle of the stream hitting the pitcher, however quiet, is almost too loud, too disturbing in the picture of midnight.

It gets filled a little too high and droplets splash onto my skin. The slick kiss of water on my arms sparks back my recollection of a towel and a pool and a fleeting summer. The world’s no longer threatening.

I taste a sip of my lemonade and like I anticipated, it’s too gritty and too sweet. I’ve never seemed to manage the proper powder to water ratio. I feel a little bad for the poor souls who paid a quarter for a cup of the stuff way back when.

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~ by Jade Elizabeth on July 17, 2011.

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