Moms, future moms, and really friends of any gender, when you answer a phone call and these words just tumble out, it is code for:
You should have been worried, but I spared you the worst parts. And also, continue to be concerned because I'm not quite out of the woods yet.
A week and a half ago, I picked up the phone and told my mom I was okay. Or I was closer to okay than I had been.
Overwhelmed, too busy, unable to say no to activities, and trying to fit in friends because relationships can't be cryogenically frozen in time I was at my limit.
After a few moments talking, I saw mine was a veiled call for help. The revelation came when my mom said, "Oh. I wasn't worried about you."
Isn't it funny when your script falls apart? It's so unearths my desires and upends my plans.
Rather than say, "Oh but you should have been very concerned, in fact you should be actively fretting right now about me. I want to hear your hands wringing."
I stuck to my original, now revealed, bold faced lie:
I am fine.
As we continued chatting, I started drawing a bath. I was boiling water in the electric kettle and running the water to fill it. Because of it's size and age, I can never fill my porcelain tub without running out of hot water when it's 1/4th full. I was determined this time. I was in need.
The stress that I was "okay" with managing was in fact pulling my vertebrae into pinchy places that resulted in finger tingling. (Yes. Not good, I know. Seriously, don't worry about me, okay?)
About the time I had boiled 2 kettles of water and filled the tub 1/4 full my plan hit a hitch. Still on the phone I discovered, "I don't have soap. How do I not have soap?" I was quick to add I do have the expensive bath bar with exfoliants and oatmeal my mom got me, but I needed something strong. Something that kills microbes.
After hanging up, because how can a mother help you find soap? I recalled seeing a sliver of soap somewhere in an unlikely spot, likely batted there by my cat. I found it in the kitchen. 2 inches long a few millimeters thick, better than nothing, and really was what I needed; I was grateful for this fragment.
I was able to get in the tub. Mom recommended I stretch out in it, but that reveals the difference in our height. I can never fit well in a tub. So while I recognize it is conventionally seen as relaxing, I reject it. If one body part is always jutting out of the water, how relaxing is that?
Furthermore, I am not good at soaking. I am a 5 minutes in the shower and that's plenty kind of woman. Lingering while bathing is not my thing. Maybe if I still had my My Little Pony Seahorses set this would go better.
But that day I decided a bath was what I needed. I was soaking. I tried to clear my head. I would for a few seconds and then have to clear it again. It was like playing thought whack-a-mole.
I just wanted to get out, but I also wanted full feeling in my fingers and toes at all times, which meant soaking some more.
Then, when I thought I couldn't be in the tub any longer, the light went out.
The light in my bathroom has a secret timer or a wiring problem. At any rate, it goes out when it is left on for about 13 minutes.
This darkness felt creepy. I was juggling which part of me was out of the water, trying to soak and free myself of thoughts and now, on top of it all, ghosts were about to attack. That would teach me to take a bath. I bet they would electrocute me.
But after about a minute of unrealistic paranormal fear, I challenged myself. Or ordered myself.
"You will not get out of this tub until you are pruney."
If you have ever read Once Upon a Potty (it's one of my childhood favorites), my tub time was similar.
I sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and...you get the idea. [Or maybe you don't. For clarity's sake I didn't go to the bathroom in the tub. How could you think such a thing?]
It was not enjoyable. And I could not see my fingers to assess if I was or wasn't done pruning up.
I kept thinking very solid thoughts.
This is life now.
You have just enough soap.
I wonder if I have enough soap for another bath.
The lights are out.
I don't like this.
Do not get out of the tub.
You have to stop moving.
It's really dark.
My knee caps are cold.
Why do people like this?
They probably think to light candles.
Candles prevent creepiness.
I should get candles.
Ah! Stop thinking about what you should do right now.
You do need soap. Don't forget that.
This continued for what I thought was a long time. Finally I decided I had to have gotten wrinkles on my digits. I climbed out, turned on my more reliable light and discovered no raisins.
But my back felt significantly better, and I had, to the degree that I could, not written out a long to do list, save one thing:
I now I have soap. And don't worry, I'm okay.