The tub filled slowly. She dipped a toe in the milky water and took a deep breath. Warm vanilla sugar. Smiling to herself remembering the years of Love's Baby Soft, then Jean Nate, Tresor, Miracle...and now the smell of a warm kitchen on a cold day. How things change.
Easing in to the bath the water creeping over legs marked with old scars. A lifetime of stories in the marks. Tripping over barbed wire at camp now nothing more than a silver line at her ankle. A bump of scar tissue on her knee once the worst thing she could think of now just a mark over an angry joint that complained when it got too cold outside. As the water covered her thighs she smiled remembering the photographer on her wedding day telling her that one day she would look back at the picture of her slipping the garter on and wish for thighs so thin. On that day she had thought how ridiculous, she needed to lose 5 pounds after all. Thirty years and thirty pounds later she understood.
But now she knew they were strong legs. They had walked a thousand miles. Squatted for hours over Lego buildings and chalk drawings. Run to catch a falling toddler and stayed still to let a grown up leave the nest. They were thick. Thin thighs were something for a child to aspire to, She was happy with her strong ones that had taken her everywhere she wanted to go, and held her man close when she didn't want to go anywhere.
Easing deeper in to the bath the water caressed her stomach. Not as flat as it used to be. Crossed with stretch marks that never went away. Soft fold of skin that was left as a reminder of the life she nurtured in her own body. Rock hard abs sound good but a warm inviting lap for a child, a pet, comfort on a bad day, that was better.
Her breasts rocked in the water. Unruly things they had become. They were healthy which was a blessing to her. They weren't as firm as they used to be, but they were full, lush...Silky. Responsive. Hers.
She relaxed and felt the muscles of her face let go. There was a little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead had turned in to there was an older woman who had a crooked line right between her eyes... The first time she had noticed it she thought "where did that come from?" and as soon as she concentrated and her eyebrows dipped she saw...It was her thought line. Like a fault line under the earth's crust it was the line where her thoughts pushed against each other until one came out triumphant. Or that's what she liked to think.
She smiled...crinkle lines around her eyes. Crow's feet. Did you know that crows are the smartest birds? Really. They can figure out puzzles, they mourn their dead. There was a study at a university years ago where this professor and his assistants captured and tagged a few crows then released them. The crows were not thrilled with this, by the way, and started dive bombing and attacking these people when they would walk around campus. Not just the crows they had captured, but all of the crows. And did I mention they were wearing masks when they did the capturing and the masks didn't matter? The crows still knew who they were. And TOLD THE OTHER CROWS. AND THEN THEY PASSED IT ALONG TO THE NEXT GENERATION! I think the results of the test were...don't fuck with crows. So a few crow's feet around her eyes was fine with her.
The eye crinkles, the thought line, those joined the laugh lines she had. More years spent with a smile on her face than a scowl. She would take it. Then there was the one deep groove above her lips. The mark left from her years as a smoker. Lips pursed around a cigarette. It was a good reminder to her to watch herself. What seems like nothing can end up being something later in life. Listen to the warnings. Pay attention to those that came before you. They know. And get out of a bad situation before it gets worse. One wrinkle is better than lungs riddled with disease after all.
Running her hands through her hair. Years of long had given way to short. Her hair had been her vanity until she realized it could be a gift to someone else instead. Then she grew it and cut it with regularity. Up until the silver gray threads went from a few to a few more to how many of you are there? Then she cut it all off and embraced her new glitter. Each sparkling silver hair was a reminder of an adventure. Those times when she ran to catch that falling toddler? Silver hair. The times she had to let him fall on his own. More silver hairs. Time passes and it leaves gifts. Threads of sparkling silver in her brown locks were part of a crown.
Time moves. Bodies change. Muscles soften. But so do rigid thoughts. An expanding mind is more important than an expanding back side any day.
Warm water in a bath tub smelling like a freshly baked cookie.
A body strong and healthy.
Yet soft and lush.
Life is good.
The stories tell of wicked queens bathing in the blood of young virgins to keep their youth. They should have been washing in the essence of grown women instead. Fuller. Juicier. And more powerful than they could have ever imagined.