Ahmed Zaidan
The Farewell shower

My last night of my thirties in my lifetime wouldn’t have sprinted away like an intimidated rabbit before I would rush out of the gym in the hope of getting back home before ten that evening. I needed to scamper to the shower to rid the sweat from my exhausted body. I tossed my new bike randomly, and hardly got it locked. I didn’t want to wait for the lift, as I was sure that I would escalate faster on foot. Like a rocket, I scooted up to the fifth floor. I slammed into the door violating my apartment like a hurricane. I accelerated to my final destination, the tiny bathroom.

As I got in, I was totally naked, dumping the sport clothes everywhere while advancing. I clutched the shower head in one hand, while the second hand went to balance the water to avoid the sting of the cold or hot water. I started washing my leg, down from my thigh to ankle in what seemed to be a test to probe the water’s temperature. I was shocked to see the clean water dissolve into what appeared to be mud and silt on my body. How come water could turn into a muddy river, like the Amazon after rain? I didn’t have a clue what was going on. I wondered, when was the last time I went to the shower? The answer was before my eyes in my resting clothes on the washing machine, I went to the shower in the morning. There might be another reason for all this!

I carried on washing my body, upped the shower head over my head, out of the foam clouding my sights, I peered at something freaky, stains of dirt, tar and strange colours, gushing from my head down to my feet. I couldn’t believe what was happening until I began to smell strange fragrances. A distinguished mixture of several smells had awakened a crowded marketplace in me, a venue which was densely thriving with people. Sellers at their booths were promoting their goods, crying in such beautiful rhymed words to tempt the folks. Was it Mosul?! That past stood in front of me like a giant or Gin from the lamp. A mixture of different smells melted with cheap restaurants’ fragrances and the standstill water underneath pavements had formed the place in a three dimensional shape. The place that could be immediately summoned by recalling one of its elements saved in the memory. “I think by now, I am near to deciphering the secret”, I contemplated! This was the last shower of my twenties. I would just ditch the old days still stuck on me for a decade. I realised that I had spent that past decade travelling between two worlds, Mosul and Europe.

I resumed the shower all over me. The water was splashing my face and neck and subsequently old items descended. I see the Jasmine of our house in Mosul. I see the sparkling glance of my mother, waiting my return when I bid her farewell. I see the voice of my martyred uncle in the form of an Arabic melody vanishing down. I seen a dust turning into silty water, the dust of sandstorms and explosions in Iraq ten years ago. For a moment, I thought I was falling into one of the black holes in the universe, where time’s elements floated over there.

The flux of all that couldn’t end before I spied a black water, smelling like tar. Something had brought war to me, then the smell of the first sea and first snow mixed with the fume of the stoves in the first countries I’d stepped in!

I saw in the end a pink water escaping my body, and then it was turning into yellow, eventually to nothingness… I studied it very well, it was some of the failed relationships that I passed through during the past decade. It continued a short while, then I observed a relationship that had recently dissolved. At last, I stayed by myself. I had decided by then to take advantage of the status by ditching my bad habits, starting from smoking, but there has been someone laughing at me each time I’ve tried!

Now, I managed to wash out from my body the waste after the gym. I closed the tap. I slumped to the mirror staring at my face left and right. There was some new hair on my chin. I flitted my hand to it. I put the razor on, and scraped it off. There were some grey hairs as well, like a failed military coup, anyway it fell like arid days. I looked at myself, I seemed like that freshman who would go to his school in a few minutes. But the bubble of that dream was penetrated by the voice of my iPhone crying loudly, reminding me that in an hour, I would turn thirty.