The Bath

Whirlpool-style bathtub with blue-gray tile and step-up. 1980s-era wallpaper above.

The wide, six-foot-two man dipped a toe into the whirlpool tub to check the water temp. It was a bit tepid, at least for his desires in the moment. He bumped the knob over, turning up the heat.

At 37, he has gotten to the age where some of those old bumps and bruises have come back to haunt him. An old football injury here. A teenage daredevil stunt there. But, mostly, his body was just aching from the general wear and tear of life. He knew he should go to bed an hour earlier every night and sleep in more often. But, he has so much to accomplish and not enough time to do it all. So, he sacrifices some rest to work on his art and his programming and his gardening and every other little thing that brings him joy.

However, he knew he needed to slow down and relax for at least one night, and there was one thing he had not enjoyed since moving into his house exactly one year before.

There was a large-ish — relative to this guy’s size and stature — whirlpool tub that had been calling his name.

As a youngster, he had spent years avoiding the shower. He was accustomed to soaking in the tub, and he was determined to continue doing just that. Eventually, between losing the battle of bathroom time to teenage sisters and his eventual growth spurt, baths were out of the question. The girls rarely allowed him the luxury, and genetics made every normal-sized tub impossible to comfortably squeeze into.

Over the years, he simply resigned himself to his fate. Unless he happened to find himself a new home with a large bathtub, daily showers were the best he was going to ever have.

Aside from a few months where he roomed with a friend who had a massive two-person shower with heads that could knock an adult down, most showers were lackluster at best.

He became a master at the quick shower. There was never any point in dallying about. Baths were about luxury and relaxation, but showers were meant for just cleaning one’s self.

The man had known he always wanted a bathtub worthy of a grown ass man, something that he could simply lie back and soak in. While he did not have the luxury of making it a high-priority bullet-point in his search for a new home, he got lucky with the master bath.

However, he somehow let life get in the way. He needed to upgrade the guest bath first. It was the room that company would be using when visiting. He then simply became accustomed to using it himself. But, he kept reminding himself that, one day, he was going to actually try out that whirlpool tub.

And, that day was the one-year anniversary of owning his new home.

He brought in a clean wash rag and towel. He lit a candle to set the mood before stepping into the gradually-warming water. Gentle at first — it was almost a foreign experience. He soaked for a few minutes before breaking into a fresh bar of soap, wanting to capture the experience. When the water rose high enough, he turned on the jets.

This was better than he had remembered. He couldn’t figure out why he had waited so long, but it was the best bath he had taken since he was a kid. Next time, he may even turn on some music.