Relax, don’t do it.

Photo by Naomi Fuqua

Veronica walks into her home from an exhausting day. Sighing heavily, she shakes off her coat and bag and angrily peels off the layers of business casual. Gleefully, she remembers her husband has taken the kids to visit his parents. What will she do with all this spare time? There’s nothing like a hot soothing bath she thinks to herself. She turns on the bath, full steam. The hot water gurgles, then gushes out of the pipe. She sits on the toilet as she removes her shoes, that’s when she sees it. The giant hair ball covered in black goo surfing the bubbles of her soothing bath to be. She scoops it out and flips into the waste basket. Drains the tub and wipes it down after spraying it with some chemicals from under the sink. She turns on the shower to rinse it away. Drains the tub a second time, then starts the process again.

You know what would be nice, she thinks? Some candles. A bit of candlelight would really make for a calming mood. Where is the sensibly decorative and delightfully scented candle she always has in here? In a flash she recalls the moment she caught little Andrew scraping the wax out of it with an alarmingly accurate stabbing motion and her good tweezers. That’s okay, there are the emergency power outage candles in the basement, those will work. She walks down the rickety staircase nude, and confronts the stale chill of the poorly lit basement. In a brisk motion, she rummages through the boxes searching for the boring white candles she thoughtfully remembered to pack for emergency situations such as this. When out of the corner of her eye she catches the glimpse of the bulging man staring at her vulnerable naked frame. His scraggly beard still under his guarded breath, he stood motionless and silent. Terror quaked through her body, she was unarmed! She reached out for the closest blunt object she could find, a 24inch wooden baby Jesus from her vintage, gold-leaf laden, nativity lawnscaping set! She wields baby Jesus with the might of a thousand Veronicas and squares his bearded jaw, decapitating him instantly! His head rolls toward her feet and his body stays aloft motionless.

She squints. She realizes she has just murdered baby Jesus’s stepdaddy, the beautifully appointed but surprisingly weak-necked wooden Joseph. After scrubbing the basement clean of her grizzly murder. She grabs the boring white candles and ascends the basement stairs, triumphant in the knowledge that had there in fact been a beard clad assailant down there she could have definitely handled it.

She enters the bathroom with a squish, and immediately remembers she neglected to turn off the hot water before her basement encounter. She turns off the water and pulls every towel out of the cabinet to dry up the mess, then dutifully she scoops and carries the soggy ball to the washer and sets it to run while she claims her soothing bath.

Boring white candles are go, and she is opening up that amazing bath bomb her Hubbie got her for Christmas this year. The one she’s been saving for a special night like this, if only she could just get the damn plastic wrap off. She picks at it with her nails, she bites at it ( even though she can hear her mother’s voice reminding her how terrible that is for her pretty teeth), nothing! This fucking thing is impenetrable! She squats down to search through the lower cabinets for the scissors she uses to cut the boys’ hair. Aha! With a quick stabbing motion (that must be where Andrew gets it) she reveals the battered bomb, and throws it into the bath before it crumbles in her hands. Turning off the lights, she steps into warm water and lies down until all but her head is covered. The steam flushed her face, you can almost hear her tightened muscles sigh as they begin to un-ache themselves. She closes her eyes letting the silence envelop her. Buzzzzz! The doorbell screaches through with a sonic boom. Her family is home, and she has the deadbolt engaged.

Despite her grave error, she was determined to settle in for her well earned relaxation. Veronica ignored the increasingly louder knocks and ringing bell and dunked her head under the water making a conscious effort to breathe.

Published by Naomi

M. Naomi Fuqua is an Art Educator and Multidisciplinary Artist from Houston, Texas.

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