She only knew my name from a white piece of paper. I assume it was even typed and not written in anyone’s own handwriting. It did not matter if she knew my name or not. She was here for only one reason and she called me “Honey” the entire time we were together.
I noticed she was kind of heavy set in my cloud of painkillers and it was slow going as she helped me get up from the bed.
Tim had gone to get a decent lunch instead of one from the hospital cafeteria (who could blame him) and promised me I’d feel better after a shower.
Her cold fingers seemed even more so as they touched my skin that had just been lying against warm, bleached sheets for hours on end.
I wanted to get up but I also did not. I wanted to see my baby but I also did not. I DID want to get clean.
After fussing with the things on the bed that a woman who just gave birth has underneath her, and the various other accoutrements that go with a hospital bed, I was up. I looked right into her dark, chocolate eyes and grabbed her thick arm with my hand for support.
We slowly made our way to the bathroom together as she lilted over and over, “Now go slow honey, this ain’t no race…”
I wanted that warm water on me. I needed its cleansing powers.
She gently helped me get out of my gown and mesh panties and the next thing I knew, I was standing naked in front of a complete stranger as the drops of water fell from my hair and my nose, my fingertips.
And I didn’t care.
I just had my first baby the day before and plenty of people who knew nothing much about me had seen all kinds of parts of me that normally they would not.
I was certain that I was not the first naked woman she had seen and that I would not be the last. However, I did wonder what she found different about my post-partum body versus the others she had seen. Maybe it was the mole on the side of my face, or perhaps the shape of my knees. Maybe she couldn’t care less and just thought about how many more hours she had until she could go home from her job, after washing strangers who needed her help just to get clean.
As she finished helping me dry off I thanked her several times and each time she said, “Oh Honey, you’re welcome, it’s my job.”
As she readied herself to leave she asked if I wanted to be back in the bed or in the chair and I said the bed was fine. She helped me raise it up so I could eat my lunch and watch television and then just like that, she was gone, on to the next patient.
Tim returned just a bit later and he could tell his promise was fulfilled as he glided into the room and saw the smile on my face.
He smiled back as I told him how a complete stranger helped me have the best shower ever.
Your assignment for this week is to write about a memory of yourself WITH someone else.