She reeled for a split second, turning around, as the hot water splashed on her shoulders and neck, and reached out for the wall. The world spun momentarily and then stopped abruptly. She wanted to stand there forever until the scalding water washed her clean of… everything.

She kept losing herself to stuff that wasn’t her, that was the problem. And then somehow, life would remind her to take a step back, to look at it all, to analyse its meaning, to ask, “Who are you?” And to that she had no answers. But she knew who she wasn’t, and she knew that she kept looking for answers in the wrong places. Maybe there were none. Or at least maybe she wasn’t meant to know them. Maybe she was just making it unnecessarily complicated. Maybe she really just was simply… nobody. We all are in a way anyway, which was an oddly comforting thought.

Ten pounds. That would do it. It was a while since she’d been in the 70s. A decade maybe?

Her hips ached as she reached to turn off the water and the nausea engulfed her again as she stepped out onto the mat, shivering. Towel. Muscle rub. Sweatpants. Hoodie. Flip flops.

Downstairs, she scrolled through the music on her old iPod, which was glowing faintly in the darkness, the only bit of light in the room. ‘Underpass’ on repeat; that would suit this night. She switched on the lamp in the corner and stood looking around the room, its haphazard piles of boxes and other junk familiar but meaningless.

So I’ve tried all day to outrun this storm
Cold the wind and rain
Neon flickers in the gusty night
I can’t go home again…

Coffee sounded good. Maybe it would cut through the nausea a little. But cleaning had to happen first. It always did, no exceptions. The rituals seemed like all she had left anymore. They weren’t as comforting as they used to be, but they were familiar — there was that word again, ‘familiar’; she took solace in the familiar — and that was better than nothing. No one understood that. No one understood anything really, and inconvenient as it was at times, that’s the way she wanted it. She’d never particularly wanted to be understood anyway. Understanding broke down walls, and no walls led to… actually she didn’t know what it led to, but she wasn’t sure she cared to find out. Mostly she just wanted to be accepted as she was, not understood. What did you have left for yourself if someone understood you?

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