by Jillian Boyd

I have a secret passion
involving eucalyptus bath salts
It’s a thing from when I was a kid
colds prone to hitting me whenever
they were least practical

The steam from the filling bath
running my fingers through foaming water
trying to pinpoint the moment
it was just right to add
the secret ingredient

It was – still is – an alchemy
a matter of getting it spot on
of enough to make the steam sing
with the scent of deep and open breaths

I can’t quite remember
the last time I indulged
blame it on years lived in shared houses with crowded showers
with no space to relax into the warmth
of meringue mountains of minty foam
clearing my senses and my mind

I can’t quite find
another place where they sell those bath salts
the exact ones from way back
that reignite those memories
of lengthy bathing sessions
and unclenched muscles

The one time I did find
the brand – the memories – the scent
I stood in the pharmacy down the road
from where I dreaded to come to work
I stood and inhaled
from the big jar filled with old comforts.

The pharmacist looked quizzically
at this strange and tear-stained person
standing there in one of the aisles of his shop breathing in eucalyptus bath salts
Can’t say I minded
I was too busy being reminded.

Jillian Boyd | @jboydwrites
Jillian Boyd is a writer, based in London. She can be found talking pop culture on Twitter at @jboydwrites.

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