In the shower just now, the hot water falling in a lovely cascade, I put my head against the tiles and thought how nice it would be to have a cry. The water felt so good, the warmth flooding over my skin, and instantly connected me to a sense memory of my earliest life.
Or so I surmise, based on a story my mother told me more than once. I was a cranky, challenging, surly infant, I’m told, a defiant little chap who would often fret or rage for no apparent reason. The only thing that would reliably calm me, it turns out, was a nice warm bath. I would unclench my tiny baby’s fists and my creased brow would smooth itself out. I would suddenly grow calm and content, suggesting to me that I must often have felt cold as an infant and that my parents’ lack of insight into this is why I was pissed off so often. I don’t remember this directly, of course, but I recall my mother’s description of it much later in my life.
It is this memory, I suppose, of my mother telling me how the warm water would instantly calm me, as well as the calming influence of the warm water itself, that makes the wonderful feeling of the warm water hurtling down so poignant to me. The skin is the body’s largest sense organ, and a very sensitive sense organ it is. The warm water instantly changes the temperature of the skin, which on days when I give in to the feeling, makes me put my head against the tiles, rub my hand over the top of my head, and try to give in to the urge to have a good cry.
Tears, alas, so rarely come.