I stand naked. I stand in front of the shower wearing the past two days of travel on my skin reflexively waiting for the water to warm. Ten seconds. Twenty seconds. Thirty. A minute later the realization hits me, no hot water. There has been no hot water. There will be no hot water joining me in the shower today.
My first steps are those of a mouse trying to sneak pass a cat, timid and not so sure this is a great idea. But this is no way to live life, I remind myself. I will not let the beast of cold water defeat me in my quest for cleanliness. I straighten my back, stand tall, and ready for whatever comes next.
Despite my surge of courage my hand is timid as it reaches out to test the stream of waiting cleanliness.
OH HELL NAH, my nerve endings shriek. My wounded hand quickly retreats back to the safety of my body.
Buck up kid, someone’s paying for this water, the left side of my brain orders.
First one hand returns, joined shortly after by hand number two. Decidedly not interested in the glacial stream before them, my hands press on determined to get the job done.
“Like a bandaid. Like a bandaid. Like a bandaiiiiiddddddd”
Splash one hits the right arm. Splash two hits the left. Splash three hits me right in the chest.
Dramatic I am, yet I know no other way. I close my eyes. The time has come. There is no going back, it’s do or die.
I plunge under the stream of pure ice.
As I shower I try to contain the noises of my dying nerve endings- I would hate for my amazing host family to think their new gringa is a pansy. They do this every day.
What’s the big deal gringa?