# # Wet Scream of Consciousness

Brother, I Can See Your Skull.

Brother, I Can See Your Skull. - The Coreyshead Blog

Wet Scream of Consciousness

I come in from weed-whacking the lawn when I hear the scream. It exits the wall to my right and crawls into my ear, ringing there like the buzzing of a little, lost fly.

It is my teenage daughter in the shower.

The sun is shining outside and the neighborhood is a-buzz with happy goings on as long-cloistered urges towards activity are taken down from their dark and stuffy high shelves and shaken out to flap merrily in the fresh breezes of spring; a lovely, these days rare, warm May day, and my daughter is wet and screaming.

You’d think I’d spring with fright to her aid, except that I know she does this from time to time, screaming in the shower, so I am not concerned.

I love her. Of course I do: she’s my daughter. Not that I wouldn’t, if we weren’t related but I have to, you know. A duty, perhaps but not forced. Heck, I’d love her even if she was a boy – my son – but that would be different because then I wouldn’t refer to her as “her” and, if she was a boy and not related, it would be a little stranger for me to state my love. It would be a little harder to support, to explain; a little … creepier, you know?

Not that my love is creepy, mind you, even if I am standing here, covered in bits of grass and bug splatter, loving her as she stands in the shower screaming, unaware that I know she does this from time to time; bends back and, covered in suds, jets forth from her diaphragm a disturbing little sound that, if the neighbors could hear, might make them wonder just what the hell goes on in that house over there, anyway?

But they can’t hear it and it really isn’t a scream so much as a high-pitched yip with screaming overtones. I’d call it a “scrip” or a “yeam” to help meld the concept a little more concretely except that’d be too confusing and, well, the latter completely sidesteps the onomatopoeia we all so rely upon when stretching to express.

Maybe the word I am digging for here is “yelp,” which works well but which I hesitate to use for fear that it may cause some helplessly e-Pavlovian percentage of you to feel an inane yet overpowering urge to reach for your mobile devices and rate your experience for the benefit of others, so I’ll stick with “scream,” thank you very much.

While my daughter does many things that others find inscrutable, yet which I understand, I have to admit that I’m not sure why she screams like that, at times like these, her trebling bleat ricocheting with abandon off the yellowed walls of the plastic tub insert to escape and pelt me, mid-stride through the house, my every cautious step dribbling the detritus of yard labor across a floor whose new layer of seasonal filth will have to be dealt with on the morrow.

Does she feel the scrabbling eyes of a peeping tom? Has it occurred to her, once again, just what it means to be female in our culture? Is it the horror of all things creatively sublime being washed away in a lazy flood of reality television, computer graphics, and the ubiquity of social networking, or is it just that she feels the need to clear her throat in her own, immutable fashion?

It’s not as if I am flushing the toilet while she showers, turning the warming cascade under which she basks into a scalding torrent, or that she can read the bizarre, questionable, and undeniably pointless “what if’s” going through my mind regarding my love and her gender. No: I am not to blame.

More often than screaming in the shower, I hear her gagging, as if on the verge of pulling up the partially digested remnants of her last meal and, perhaps, with a bit of luck, a distasteful organ or two. Again, I am not concerned because this I understand. It’s just her brushing the back of her tongue, her throat, maybe even the full length of her esophagus, if the gargling retches I hear burbling over the ceiling fan’s monotone hum is any indication of the depth she’s forcing the toothbrush bristles to rake. I understand because she gets this from me. I, too, brush my tongue, though I don’t go as far or as often as she does, oh no, and I don’t scream in the shower. Not for her, not for anyone.

In my mind’s eye, I imagine her gripping the sopping, pastel green of her rough, nylon bath scrubby in one small hand as she screams, the white-knuckle fervor with which she does so indicating her perception of it as the last bit of tangible reality she will ever grasp, and I realize in this instant that, without asking her, without breaking the sanctity of the one place she feels comfortable enough to let forth with a gut wrenching expression of unfettered emotion, I and the rest of the world may never know why she screams. In the flash of an electrochemical signal between neurons it hits me that she may not even know, herself.

And so I stand there, paused in thought, panting from my recent exertions, the histamine-enticing blood of 100,000 butchered plants coating me from head to toe, neck craned to catch the dying echoes of my daughter’s shower-time scream. I reek of fresh mown vegetation, combustion heated gasoline-oil mixture, and the tack of slowly cooling sweat. With one begrimed hand resting absent of mind on the kitchen counter, I think of my own, upcoming engagement with the shower, and how maybe, just this once, to return the favor, to let her know I love her no matter what, I’ll scream, too.


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