“I’m not my grandfather. I’m never going to be. He was wonderful, wasn’t he? I never knew. I wish I had known him better while he was alive. It isn’t making up for it, but I will have to get to know him better now, with what there is left of him. You miss him, don’t you? You must, I guess. I won’t ignore what’s here. Still, you have to understand. I’m not him. I will not be doing all of the same things as him. Some of those traditions are not me. Can we try together? I want to know him better and you can show me. If I learn about it, even if I don’t continue it… it won’t be lost. Not between the two of us.”
The cottage did nothing to reply that Salma could tell. Then again, that meant nothing. The cottage did many thing that meant something Salma hadn’t been able to interpret. Partially her fault. Just as much the fault of a grieving cottage.
They grit their teeth, glaring at the remnants of their home.
He stood beside them, his own unhappiness also resonating. They knew he was going to say something even more annoying though. Something they didn’t want to hear right now. They considered tuning him out, but didn’t manage in time.
“We can build another one.”
“Don’t try to reassure me now,” they snapped.
He put a hand on their shoulder, much to their annoyance. They scowled at him, but as per usual their displeasure didn’t seem to affect him much. Instead, he slowly pulled them into his chest, sliding that arm around them. They considered pushing him away, but eventually decided against it. Instead, their attention returned to what remained of the residence.
“I’m not reassured.”
They sighed and pressed into his side. If this had been the worst thing to ever happen, they might have been more devastated. But the two of them had survived it. “Me too.”
It was her secret. The warm water, the bubbles, the all encompassing comfort of floating in the bath. Soaking up the luxury of the moment, she remained completely in the present. The past would not bother her here and the future needn’t concern her yet. As long as the rest of the house continued to bask in silence meant that she was alone to enjoy this moment. The steam rolling over exposed skin, the droplets creeping up her hair.
Her hair. She pushed aside the thought.
The oils smelled like coconut and sandalwood. Occasionally she raised a foot out of the water and foam to feel the coolness of the air before returning it to the warmth. She brought her head back down and up, the small rivers of the bathwater slowly rolling off her chin and cheekbones. She sunk back in as the water began to cool. Her time was up. Serenity was over.
She exited the bath, rinsed off, and regretfully began the routine that would keep her hair from becoming a frizzy mess.