“Are you going to shower or what? The heating will be off any minute now – do you want to come out of the steam room into the cold?”
She had a point, but my mom usually does. Not that I like it one bit, mind you, but it’s there – pity. So I said ‘brb’ to my co-chatters, both of them (one of the only two internet shorthand terms I can actually bring myself to use, the other being ‘gtg; all the ‘lolz’ and ‘ttylz’ belong with the tweens), turned my messenger status to ‘Away’, and headed for the bathroom.
Towel draped over the radiator, to soak up the remains of the heat, and water temperature regulated, I stripped quickly, tossed everything into the hamper, and stepped into the tub. My westerner friends are amazed that we still do the handheld shower head and bath tap in one gig here, but that’s the way things work in Llamakistan. I’m not sure I’d have them another way, honestly. Shower cubicles feel claustrophobic, while tubs without showers make me wonder how to rinse and avoid soap burns.
Now, I reminded myself, no time to dawdle, the heat is running low. Lather up (whoever invented the bath puff is a genius), scrub down, almost ready. I just need a shave. And damn – I should have checked the razor beforehand and grabbed a new one. I never remember to do that when mom puts my razor together with hers in the nook, rather than leaving it on the windowsill, where I let it dry. Ah well. Gotta do it, and gotta do it with the frayed one, just add more soap and be careful.
I was careful, I swear. It was only when I felt that sharp sting of pain right over the outer right ankle bone that I realized I hadn’t been quite careful enough. That never happens with a new razor, only with old ones that snag instead of gliding.
I checked the nick, a tiny spot of red, figured it would take care of itself like so many times before, and moved on to the left leg. It took me a couple of minutes to finish that too (ironically, I never nick my left leg, whether I shave right-handed from an uncomfortable angle or all-around uncomfortably left-handed), and only then noticed the water around my ankles had turned decidedly red, and getting redder.
Half-panicking, I checked the nick again, to find a steady dribble of blood feeding into the tub in two or three separate ‘threads’. Okay, nothing I’d bleed to death from, but still an alarming quantity of blood, to turn about three inches of water visibly red. I rinsed quickly, all enjoyment fled, then blasted the cut with cold water, hoping to seal it as quickly as possible. It stung awfully; not to mention that the cold numbed my foot almost instantly, before starting to creep upwards. Not an enjoyable sensation at all.
Several soaked sheets of toilet paper later, I had managed to dry myself without smearing blood all over my towel (no small feat) and slap a band-aid on. Only then did I consider the case closed. Of course, the offending razor was at the bottom of the bathroom bin already. I opted for a dark pair of socks, slightly paranoid lest the blood seep through the bandage, and went on with my evening, a bit shaken but not much the worse for wear.
The scar didn’t appear immediately, nor the following evening, when I took off the band-aid. I’m not even sure if it was the cut that caused it – perhaps the band-aid aggravated it too much. It never bled as much again, but when socks no longer covered it, there was a little silvery white crescent left behind, like a nail mark, to remind me. Bloody hell, not even a cool scar I could show off.