She ties the dressing gown around her waist. Lines up her toes where the metal coping separates the hallway carpet from the bathroom tiles. A diver’s stance. Anticipation of the tiles’ coldness.
She steps. Plummets. Side steps the bath mat. Plants her feet squarely. Small ripples quickly subside. The cold tiles prickle the soles of her feet until it stings. Tapers off to an equilibrium.
Repeatedly she will lie on her back on the bathroom floor undressed. Lets the cold of the tiles fight with the heat of her body. She relents. Acquiesces. Adds a layer of permafrost to her heart against the fire of her mother’s tongue.