The sand sits on the bottom of the tub amongst the bubbles and bath toys. It’s lonely there, as lonely as the girl washing it out of her long sun bleached blonde hair.
Her tears collect in the bubbles.
This bath is a hard one. As is the ritual each year the week back to school rolls around, it is now the time we scrub away summer, and all its spontaneity.
We’re cleansing away the sleep dust collected from late morning rises, the road snack stains from simple road trips to see her grandparents, the salt from relaxing quick dips in the sea. We’re scrubbing away three packages worth of s’mores, and the freezie drippings in the webs of her fingers. We’re scrubbing off the sandcastles and summer’s earth from between her toes.
Summer is her essence.
Her bruised brown biking legs revolt when we lather them, her bronzed freckled shoulders show distinct lines where her threadbare bathing suit straps still wish to lay.
It’s a quiet, sullen cry this year, as she looks to me to wipe two months of ice creams from off her chin, and I almost wouldn’t know there were tears there, if she weren’t my girl.
She and I exhale loudly.
September is officially here, and we both feel the anxiety beast breathing alongside her. Together, we exit the washroom and flick off the light, and we see the sun set over the hill.
Her backpack sits at the door.
There is still time to dream. We can still wish the worry monsters away.