The craving begins in January. It is insatiable. My mind racing and my heart is longing for a place I can’t drive to just yet. My one week, my peaceful relaxation is a drug causing my insides to shake with a never-ending yearning. I need my vacation.
I talk myself down from the nervous breakdown cliff by saying:
“A few more months. Hold on the best you can, you will see your happy heaven again. Keep putting in the long hours. Write, keep writing. Keep remembering the goal. Close your eyes and remember the place. Allow the salty memories to waft into your nose. You will get there again, even if it kills you. When you break down, taste the salt in your tears. Let them purify your mouth and your heart. The sadness streaming down your face is a reminder of the goal. Do your Saturday ritual. Do not hesitate.”
Saturday’s noontime finally arrives. My child is napping. I quietly creep back up the old worn wooden stairs. I shut the door to my safe haven. I need these 45 minutes more than oxygen. I need one long hot bath. It is a pretend vacation, a forgery, but it is all I have.
The water comes rushing from the nozzle. I place my hand under the purified waterfall. Too hot or too cold? Make the proper adjustments. Then grab the big Epsom salt box and spread half the container along the white basin floor. Add the mixture of scented oils marked with Egyptian labels. I watch them swirl together on top of the pooled water. The hot water causes the aromatic oils to rise up into the air, and my bathroom becomes a temporary spa. It’s a safe little perfumed haven drawing out the negativity while adding life back into my old soul.
I strip down naked and pull my matted hair out of its elastic band. The water scalds my feet as I step into my serenity. I turn the silver knob to add a hint of coolness, and then adjust again back to warmth. My bare skin sinks deep down into relaxation.
The gritty Epsom salts scrape my back and calves. As I slide underneath my personal Poseidon’s kingdom as the world outside that tub stops existing. My hands grab my dirty blonde, dark rooted mane and fingers run in an automated backward motion. I can breathe again.
I sit there for an eternity.
Listening to my heartbeat under the water.
For these few minutes every weekend, a craving is satisfied.
I become new. I become woman again. I become more…
More than a mother.
More than a wife.
More than a writer.
More than a worker.
I am whole again.
I need saltwater to live. The Atlantic is too far away. Every Saturday, an ocean is manifested inside my home. My heart, my very existence, craves the beach. There, my troubles are washed away. I let my soul go out with the low tide and when the high tide crashes against my sun burnt skin, I become the person I always knew I could be. I am better.
Fake saltwater is created with Epsom salted baths. It does the trick and allows me a bit of sanity.
I step out of my Saturday bath as a new woman. I place my feet on the white octagon tiles ready to face another week. I am one more week closer to a vacation. I write, work, and live for this one holy week a year.
I dream, crave, desire, long for, lust after, and create fake saltwater trying to mimic an ocean. I get one week where it is real. I get a week where I don’t have Epsom salted thoughts. I swim in real salt. I dig sand dollars out with my toes. I watch a little boy run free. One week a year, I am made new. I am transformed in the nature’s baptismal waters and I am reborn. Tomorrow will just be another forgery as I am