She got out of the shower and grabbed her towel, wrapping it quickly around her wet body before she could catch a glimpse of herself in the mirror.
She groaned inwardly because she knew that the towel barely covered her girth. She wished she had a second towel to throw around her shoulders, just in case he came in while she was getting ready. Which, he surely would, he always did.
She cracked the door open to let out the steam from the heat of her shower and she wiped a circle of condensation off the mirror, the size and shape of her head only. That was enough. She didn’t need to see the rest. She only needed to see her hair and face. She knew what the rest of her body looked like, she didn’t need it mocking her in her reflection.
She began getting ready to go out, turning her head upside down to dry her hair. This was the process that made it look full.
Her mane was her saving grace. Her mask. Her Samson. Her Lady Godiva.
He walks in. It’s his turn to get ready.
He brushes against her as she is turned upside down. She notices, from her upside down position, he is naked, ready. He rubs himself against her toweled bottom. He softly moans and as pulls her up and takes the dryer from her hand. He loosens the towel and grabs her breast, exposing the soft flesh of her stomach in the mirror.
She sees. She hopes he doesn’t.
As lightheartedly as she can, she tells him to stop, that he is distracting her from doing her hair. She makes a sound, a laugh, what she hopes sounds like the tinkling of a crystal wine glass. Transparent. Light.
He doesn’t stop. She feels him harden. She is beginning to get into the sensation, the moment. Gyrating against him, she closes her eyes and ignores the woman in the mirror, the one she can not accept is her.
She opens her eyes and faces the mirror, bracing herself against the bathroom vanity. The condensation is gone. The steam has cleared. She feels like a giant spotlight is on her, exposing what she wants to badly to ignore. Exposing what she so badly doesn’t want him to see. The dimples, the sagging, the misshapen body that has become part of her. The new her.
She sees herself.
The moment is gone. The sensations disappear. A sinking feeling overtakes her.
She tightens the towel around her again, tighter than before.
She looks at him but not in the eyes, she can’t bear to look him in the eyes right now.
She apologizes to him. She makes excuses that she is worried the kids are going to walk in or that they are going to be late meeting their friends. She lies about being distracted. Her quivering body tells the truth though, the wetness. If only she hadn’t had to look into her own eyes. If only she hadn’t seen her arms, her breasts, her hanging stomach. If only…
He tries again and cups her breast in his hand. With a shake of her damp hair, she pulls away. He calls her silly. Says they have plenty of time to make love and get ready. Besides, he jokes, he’s already ready.
She doesn’t understand how. Why. Does he not see her and what she has become?
If she can’t bear to look at herself, isn’t it so much worse for him?
She apologizes softly. She tells him that she does want him but it would be better later. She promises to make it better later, with all things she would do to him. Later. In the dark. She smiles seductively. Or tries to.
A soft knock on the door reminds them they aren’t alone in the house. A small voice asks for Mommy.
She is relieved. The perfect excuse. The perfect out. Her child needs her, which comes before his needs.
Her reflection looks at his reflection. Their eyes, their smiles meet.
She leaves the bathroom, towel still tightly wrapped around her.
She tends to her child.
She’ll finish putting herself together when he is done.
She’ll tend to her husband later. When there are no lights and mirrors, only the darkness of a nighttime bedroom that masks her uncomfortable shame.