Monday, February 28, 2011

It's Pouring

I once had this faucet that leaked, in my spare bathroom.  At times it would trickle, eking out small, gurgling streams between steady drips.  Metallic-edged pings and plops would sound throughout my apartment.  Some days I wouldn't hear it all, until while immersed in some book or other quiet occupation a sudden "plip!" would rouse me from my reverie.  I knew I should get it fixed, but I lacked motivation.  In a way, the sounds were comforting and familiar.

Then, one day, it started to flow.  The stream became a flood.  Water surged from the faucet as forceful as a mighty river.  It cascaded over the edge of the sink, covering the floor, suddenly over my toes and rising.  The walls melted away, becoming water, and a chaos of swirling deluge rushed at me, the noise deafening.  My waist was under, then my chest and as the water passed over my eyes I sunk further into the alluvium gathering around my knees. "I will drown," I thought calmly, the futility of my situation bringing serenity.

I blinked.

The water had disappeared, my clothes were dry, and the only sound was a quick "plip-plop" followed by silence.  I went to my closet and dug out a wrench.  Returning, I twisted that faucet with all the strength in my body.  As though my very life force were flowing down through my arms, hands and fingers.  Left to right, reposition.  Left to right, reposition.  Left to right, reposition.  "Be quiet!" I screamed.  "Stop your incessant dripping!"  I pulled and turned until my hands felt raw and I collapsed, enervated.

For days I walked on eggshells, shoulders hunched with tension, hoping to hear nothing.  Days passed, then weeks.  I started to relax.  Weeks turned to months, and before I knew it years had passed.  I heard no more drips, but I never dared to use that faucet.

Recently a friend came to visit.  After a few minutes spent catching up, he asked me for a drink of water.  Heading into the kitchen, I grabbed a glass and turned the cold handle on my faucet.  Nothing came out.  "How odd," I thought.  Turning the handle back, I tried the hot tap.  Still no juice.  I laughed, nervously, at the irony.  I headed for the master bath, a quick, "Just one minute" uttered apologetically to my friend as I passed through the living room.  In the bathroom, I tried the cold first again.  Silence.  "COME ON!" I thought as I turned both the hot and cold knobs as far as they would go, annoyed.  I gave the tub knobs a try and was similarly disappointed.

My frustration turned to fear as I realized I had only one option left to me.  I headed to the spare bath with trepidation.  Almost comically, I pushed the door open so meekly one would have thought a horror movie villain lurked behind.  But there was nothing comical about the dread I felt as I approached that sink, seeing my wan face in the mirror beaded with perspiration.  Should I dare to turn the tap on?  What if, like the others, this tap brought no water?  Or perhaps more terrifyingly, what if the flood returned?  I stood immobile, unable to decide.