There is a bottle of shampoo that sits in my shower. It's been there for months now, partially hidden behind the strawberry scented Suave. Nobody uses it and probably never will, but it sits there untouched, in the corner.

When I was 13 I was introduced to the world of the Internet - I'm 21 now. I met a guy on a MUD then who I thought of as my best friend until about a year ago. Because that's when we met in RL. The bottle of shampoo in the shower was left by him when he came to visit. He left it on accident, I guess.

Everytime I take a shower I am reminded of him. Of the strangeness of having his words match up with his face, his expressions, his voice. I'm reminded of when he consumed every part of my mind. I'm reminded that we no longer speak to each other.

But that bottle of shampoo stays in place. I think to take it out and throw it away now and then, but I never do.
It's interesting as to how the bottles of shampoo and whatever else in people's showers *deeply* reflect on their personalities. Every item in there seems to say something about its owner. Here's what my shower-things say about me:

Old things still sitting there:

half used bottle of "magical mane" conditioner : From the time i was completely obsessed with horses (age six thru like 15). I never had barbies growing up, i had My Little Pony figures. During this time, i convinced myself that the only conditioner i could use was this. If it was good enough for my beloved steeds it was what *i* needed (it is formulated for animal and human use, and marketed to the horse-fiends.)

mostly-used bottle of madder root extract shampoo: This is meant to bring out the natural red in people's hair. This was from the time in my life when i strongly disliked the person i was, who i was and what i'd done. My "ideal", the person who i wanted to be, who was perfect to me came to life in my writings as a woman named Jenn Thulis. She was mostly my own invention, albeit influenced by Mara Jade from Star Wars. Jenn, the woman i wanted to be... had red hair. I have brown hair with red undertones, but did i ever want it redder--it brought me closer to Jenn. Now i'm (more or less) happy with myself, very content to be a brunette, and don't use the stuff anymore.

partly used bottle of Herbal essences: perfectly good stuff--stuff, however, my mother bought generically. When i decided i was tired of just going along with whatever "mommy-dearest" said, i stopped using this. will still use it if in a hurry and our of my shampoo.

Things i actually use:
Plumeria shampoo from Bath and Body Works: Plumeria is "my" scent and has been for some time. The way i smell is one of the only "physical" things that matters to me. I'm one of those "lipstick-under-gunpoint" women. But my scent reflects my essence, or so i think. I "adopted" Plumeria as mine (before i used the shampoo) and now that i've stopped doing strange things to my hair i just use that simple thing.

Plumeria shave jel and razor (not plumeria):One of my few 'conformist' things society asks that i don't try to destroy somehow; yes i'm female therefore i shave my legs (besides it just *feels nasty* otherwise, to me)

several happy-smelling body-washes and the obglitory loofah for them:I like to pamper my skin. When it feels good and clean and pure and refreshed and smooth, i feel better, the world is suddenly a slightly less scary place. I'm allowed a *few* female indulgences... The shower is one of the few places i get time on *my* terms; time to think, to relax, to wind down. This is how i do it. There is no bath cloth; only a loofah does bodywash justice.

several bottles of aromatherapy-type bubble bath. The bath is the best place for me to spellcast, it is easy to combine the elements: water is obvious; bath salts (with *real* salt), salt stands for earth; candle for fire and incense for air. the tub is also the only place i have enough time to myself *to* cast. These things in the tub are there for my spiritual side....

There's a space a few inches wide between the edge of his tub and the sink. It's where he keeps his medicine.

Lined up in the gap and easily reachable from the shower are bottles of shampoo. He keeps them in chronological order, mostly.

What happens is, girls come over sometimes. Sometimes they come over a lot. Sometimes the come over so often they leave stuff for the next time and sometimes, when they stop coming over to see him, they leave their soaps and suds and things behind.

He keeps them in that little alley and most of the time he forgets that they're there at all.

But sometimes he gets lonely. It's the worst at night because the shades get drawn, the lights get dimmed and the infomercials are all he's got. He called up the juicer people once at 4am because, you know, it's a voice and it's interactive and it's free.

That was only once. That was a bad night.

Normally he just takes a shower. A hot one. He gets wet and slippery, closes his eyes and picks a bottle from the row. He runs the shampoo around his fingers and through his hair, the bathroom smelling like her, one of her, for a little bit. Just a little bit.

He remembers how soft her hair was down by her shoulders and the haircut that made her cry. He liked that haircut but shhhhhhh. Couldn't say.

Or...he remembers the endless brushing out of the curls that never did as they were told, always flopping around a tiny bit on her forehead. He remembers listening to the sound of the brush for what seemed like hours.

Or...he remembers lying with his head in her lap, the smell of her soap floating up from the inch of skin between the bottom of her shirt and the top of her jeans, all strawberry and cream and just the faintest hint of sweat.

- - -

There's one bottle out of order, at the end in the very corner so he doesn't have to see it if he doesn't want to. That's the bottle that makes him cry, curled up at the end of the tub and hiding from the water.

That's the empty one.

For Andy. Happy Birthday.

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