Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

There was one thing I missed more than anything else when I was planetside.

A zero-g bath.

I’d think back. I’d remember turning the taps on and seeing the water spill out in braids of steaming hot water, glittering in the light. Seeing it hit the tiled wall and scatter into millions of tiny droplets that would float around the room like a swarm of swallows.

Each ricochet would make the droplets smaller and change their direction until the room was filled with droplets, no two heading in the same direction. I could stand there for minutes, silently trying to see patterns in their slow, dream-like motion.

I remember the tiny rainbows.

The water system would hit the bath limit and the taps would shut off. I’d be there, floating in steam, eyes closed, arms out like Jesus, while the water coalesced.

After ten minutes or so, the water would be one big sphere in the center of the room. I’d help, tapping the drops towards each other until they’d conjoin and shudder into one larger drop. It was like rolling snow on a planet in the winter to make a snowman except that it was three-dimensional instead of just based on the vector they called ‘ground’.

Slowly, I’d step into the sphere of water, leaving my face free, trying to dissipate it as little as possible. I’d take a deep breath, close my eyes and submerge, curling up and going back to the womb in the truest way possible.

I’d soap up slowly, scrubbing until the water became choked with soap and skin cells and I was clean.

I’d walk into the drying room and close the airlock behind me. Once I was safely out, the bathing room would open a crack to the outside, creating a hurricane to vent every drop into the cold vacuum of space.

The water from every bath was turned into a small snowstorm flurrying out into the endless night.

I feel so heavy in my planetside bathtub if I have a bath. Even if I close my eyes and submerge, it’s not the same, feeling the tub pressing the skin on the back of me. If I have a shower, it almost depresses me to see the drops of water fall so quickly to the floor and swirl down the drain. A slave to gravity like the rest of us.

I can’t wait to finish my assignment and get back up the well.


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