This was just what I needed. I sink further back and let the warm soapy water relax me. The smell of tea tree oil and lavender filled the air pleasantly. After a whole day hiking through hills, peaks and countryside the bath felt like a well-deserved reward. I shut my eyes and straight away saw myself and Mike stood on top of a rocky peak catching our breath. Finally, after a wasted six hours –though that is hard to say in the Lake District- we had made it.
I swirled my hands in the water and moved my legs so my feet were not jammed against the end of the bathtub. I wiggled my upper back, losing the cooling water behind me and letting hotter water in. I settled and listened to the water lapping around me and the sides of the bathtub. Opening my eyes, I watch the steam rising like little wispy ghosts.
For a few moments, I think about a horror movie I had seen ages ago that had a ghost haunting a bathroom. A middle-aged woman home alone gets into freshly drawn bath then the lights start flickering. Creaking sounds like footsteps on bare floorboards and doors slowly moving start up. The lights go out, the woman panics and she is pulled down into the bathtub and the ghost teenage girl appears next to her.
I shake the thoughts away and push myself up. The water rocks back and forth as I sit up and reach for the body wash and sponge behind me. I scold myself for getting distracted by the horror movie. Nothing like that could happen here in the holiday lodge nestled in a quiet valley, even if it is nearly midnight. I sat to wash and hear footsteps and the twinging of music from above me. I look up startled, but then realise it’s only Mike. I can just make out his singing from the living room above me.
I laugh a little, finish off washing then ease myself back down. The warm water sloshes around me and my eyes land on the control of the Jacuzzi. Why not? My muscles feel aching enough. I grab the control and start up the jets. The noise is loud and makes me jump slightly. Cold water hits the back of my legs and back then gets warm and shots up around me. The bath seems to vibrate and I think that everything will settle down.
I lean back, the force of the jets against my skin smarts. Shutting my eyes, I try not to think about the noise of the feelings. I cast my mind back to the wonderful rugged countryside I saw today. We had got up soon after sunrise, got sorted then left. Mike had everything mapped out or so he claimed…After three hours, Mike suddenly stopped and looked nervously around. We had taken pauses to admire the area around us, but this was different. I asked him what was wrong, he said nothing was and we walked another two hours before he admitted we were lost.
I turn the Jacuzzi off, overwhelmed by the noise but the jets don’t go off. I push myself up, wet fingers fumbling over the buttons. I hit the end button and wait. Still the jets bubble away, throwing soapy water over the deep sides of the tub. I try again and press the button twice. Panic starts to build in my stomach and I pressed the button again then wait. I watch the bubbles dying down and only let my breath out when the Jacuzzi goes off.
I dropped the control back on the side and lay down again. My back has gotten dry and sticks painfully to the tub. I wiggled down, letting the water move around me and noticing that its’ gotten colder. I should get out, but I’m drawn to stay longer. My skin is all ready wrinkled so it won’t make any difference.
For some reason, my mind goes back to that horror movie and I think about the words the ghost writes on the mirror throughout the plot. It’s a bit jumbled but the ghost had written things like get out, help, behind you. I look around the bathroom, but see no mirrors. There’s not much wall space for one because the bathtub takes up one wall, the large window another, the shower and toilet the third and the door a fourth. The double sinks and the mirror is behind the door in an alcove space that joins to the master bedroom.
I decide to get out, before I scare myself further. Sitting up, I glance around and see again that the two handles are behind me and look too far away to help me up. Still I give it ago, but can’t get my body up enough. I slide my hands along the edge, to the back and pressing down try to get up again. My hands slip and I ease off, not wanting to risk falling. Frowning, I look around again and try to figure out how I’m going to get out.
There seems no other way then to try the handles again. I reach out, wrapping my fingers around the metal bar attached to the wall. Putting my other arm across, I put my hand on the other metal bar attached to the tub. Slowly, I eased myself up and put my weight into my hands and arms. I got a little way up, but not enough to be able to pull myself up. Sighing, I slipped back and decide to pull the plug.
I turned the metal dial and felt a whoosh of water moving under me. I give it a few moments then using nothing, tried to get up again. I put my hands to the bottom of the tub, behind me and pushed up. Still I couldn’t do it. I thought about calling for Mike, but changed my mind as I realised that if I rolled over and got my knees, I could get out that way.
I tried to turn, but there wasn’t enough room for me to get on to my side. The water level was dropping faster than I had thought and I noticed that if I had not unplugged the tub, this would have been easier. The water seemed against me. Feeling the urge to laugh at this silly situation, I tried everything to trying to get out. In one shift movement, I twisted my body around and flopped onto my stomach, my legs hit the metal Jacuzzi nozzles at the bottom. Dull pain poked me, but ignoring it, I pushed myself on to my knees then got up. The water gurgled around, flowing away. I shuffled to the end of the tub and using the edge as a hand hold, gingerly got out. My foot hovered above the floor and I thought I’d never be able to reach it. I stretched out a little more and felt cold tiles. Throwing my other leg over, I grabbed my towel and abandoned the bathroom.
Avoiding the mirror, I went into the bedroom and dried off quickly. Still wet, I threw my nightdress and dressing gowned on. I left the room, leaving both the bathroom and bedroom lights on feeling the need to keep the darkness away. I walked down the hallway, passing the front door and the second bedroom before reaching the stairs. I walked up and found Mike in the open living room, kitchen/diner.
He turned to me and straight away asked me what was wrong. I felt myself blush, though due to my cheeks all ready being red from the heat of the bath, he didn’t notice. I waved it away and went to sit down on the sofa, instead asking how the food was coming along. He turned to glance at the oven where the two pizzas were all most cooked. He nodded and went to prepare things.
I sat back and watched him, my experience in the bathroom fading in the bright lights and normality. Mike dished up and brought everything over to me, including a glass of red wine and a bottle of BBQ sauce. He turned the TV on and we watched the midnight news as we eat. After Mike pulled out his map and walking books, he flipped through the pages and looked set to plan our next walk. I stood up, pushed everything away and sit in his lap without saying anything. I kissed him and told him that we were spending the day in bed, the next walk could wait.