New year really started in the bathroom of a 3 star hotel 45 minutes walk from Notre Dame. Not midnight amongst the Europeans singing, hugging, kissing and drinking. A houseparty of strangers. A strange flavour of tonic water.
It wasn’t raining, but the clouds seemed to crowd right into the bathroom mixing with the steam where the taps ran water into the bath as quickly as it ran out the plug hole. I’d tired of scrubbing. Red and wrinkled skin from hours of soaking, foaming. Sometimes if was difficult to tell if this was real or a dream.
The effects of the spiked gin and salty tears were gradually wearing off, being replaced by a profound silence and a kind of numbness I’d never known before or since. I drank more water. Sometime I would have to leave this room, through the one door back to the bedroom. Have to look into his eyes and see all that had happened the night before reflected there. All his questions and apologies, all his needs and regrets had to be faced. There wasn’t enough room for me to run with the water down the plug hole. Watching the water spiral down I wished as hard as I could to either wake from this dream or slide out with the water.
Slowly, precisely and with the conviction normally reserved for reprimanding criminals I turned the taps off, rose, dried and dressed myself. Blew my nose. Drank more water. Closed the window. Composed, upright, dry faced. In the privacy of my mind I could hear the applause and cheering for a well excecuted restoration job.
I walked out of the bathroom