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We return to real life

After a too-early flight, I am back in my own bathroom. The fluorescent bar over the medicine cabinet harshly lights the room with a slight buzzing. The bathroom, aside from the avocado toilet, is white, painted so by the previous owner. She painted everything – the walls, the door, the vanity, the tiles, the bathtub, the garbage can, the fixtures – an unwashable white that sets off the dust and grips onto stains. I have no window, but there is a small vent above the door that lets the steam escape and my neighbors’ conversations sneak in. The floor is icy cold under my bare feet and annoyances I had forgotten flood back – the lock that doesn’t live up to it’s name, the shower head that’s falling out of the wall, the knob that falls off in my hand every time I try to open the cabinet – but I look in the mirror and smile. For once, under the fluorescent glare, my skin looks not ashen, but amber, lightly bronzed thanks to Costa Rica’s sun.

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