As I lower myself through hot steam, I’m transported to a place without measurable time. It’s just me and this water, in this room. This is nice. I feel relaxed. Water ripples at my temples while I close my eyes and sink deeper. Soon only my nose and knees are above the waterline and I imagine I’m a submarine, hidden deep and safe in the warm water. I smell lavender and palm leaves rising all around me, scenting the air. Through the water, the old-timey swing music of Glenn Miller playing just a few feet from me sounds much farther away. I imagine I’m listening secretly through a closed door, hearing the muffled trumpets and trombones play their lively tune.
Here in the water, my body is amplified. I hear every heartbeat; every breath, as if it were right next to my ear. Each thought is magnified until my mind swims in static. I try to clear it all away; to think of nothing; to relax, but my mind keeps falling around him. I smile against the water and let my thoughts drift to conversations we’ve had about the way our minds are broken in some of the same places and that despite the cracks, his looks so beautiful to me. I think of the way his eyes remind me of some of my favorite paintings and that even though we might just be tourists in each other’s lives, he’s a song I want to keep listening to.
When at last I emerge, the cooler air of the room refreshes the skin of my face, my breasts, my back, and my arms. The music gets louder as my little underwater world fades to black until I am once again in the present time. The colour in this room has been enhanced while the stresses of daily life have somehow disappeared. I’m rejuvenated, but the water couldn’t clean off the smile he painted on my face.