When your mascara is washed away, you can say it was because you held your head under the tap. The splash of drops will cover your sobbing, and the people in the next room won't know. The steam will soothe your puffy eyes, and if not, you can say the water was too hot.

Like an animal goes to die, if you have to cry, go and hide. Don't pollute your pillow with teardrops that will evaporate and fog your dreams. Don't wait until you're at the bus stop in your suit and shiny shoes and try to conceal it behind your sunglasses. All the commuters will see in the involuntary twist of your mouth what should have been left at home. Don't save it up until someone innocently asks if you're alright.

You can turn on the water hot and hard. You can huddle against the wall and hold your own shaking, naked skin. Your face can be a private, humiliated mess of snot and salicylic acid. You can cry and cry and think all the bad things and collapse there in your own misery until the water heater can take no more. The shower will wash all those tears and all those thoughts down the drain.

When you get out and step into your towel, the last spasm may come. But you pat your body dry and your eyes, too. You leave your sadness in the swirl of steam that will float away as soon as you open the door.

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