Michael Eisel sat in the tub with his mouth submerged and only this eyes cresting over the water line. His gaze was hard pressed on the faucet and thinking about the day to come. The hot water had turned lukewarm and in his mind, was less comforting and cleansing. Every so often a small bubble would come out of his mouth and reach the water line and pop in his eyes. He suppressed the urge to reach out of the water and rub out the soap. The resulting feeling was a slight burning sensation coming with every pop of a bubble. It seemed like the very need to address any sort of pain was being stifled by his need to draw his mind away from his approaching concerns.
For a moment his imagination whisked him away from this very stagnant moment to a childhood game that he used to play in his parents tub when he was a boy. His favorite tub toy was a figurine of a old fishing vessel that floated in the water. This particular toy had a wind-up feature that, when cranked, twisted the screw propeller at full force that resulted in a forward motion in the water. In his imagination, this boat had four crew members that worked tirelessly to bring back treasure from distant lands. Firstly there was a cook, his name was Harry and he was the chatty one of the bunch. He always created great meals for his hard working sailors and kept the morale up when times were tough for the men. There was Grant and Micheal, two brothers, that worked together through every adventure; whether it was fending off pirates, protecting their boat through vicious storms, or rescuing the damsel in distress. These two brothers took care of each other and the crew. Finally there was Captain Frank, who was a salty old captain who knew the seas like the back of his hand and was also pretty good in a tight spot. With all these characters together, the boat was unstoppable against any foe. So when this crew encountered the worst storm they had ever faced, they would be ready for the challenge.
The same adventure would play out each time Micheal was in the tub. Almost like clockwork, each adventure would start with small quests to acquire the treasure and most certainly would end with an epic battle against the ocean to return home with the loot. Like out of a movie, Michael would relish the end sequence because the buildup of the plot line would finally come to fruition, but also because he was responsible for creating this storm masterpiece. He would start by bouncing his hand up and down underneath the water to recreate the rising tide and the encroaching ominous weather on the horizon for the sailors. In his mind, this is when the stressed dialogue and frantic preparations would be begin on deck. He then would bring his hand up above water and wave it side to side to start the waves that the vessel would move over, listing from side to side. At this point, the fear would become very real for the sailors and each person would play their part to prevent any loss of life. Then he would bring his hand down hard on the water, splashing water everywhere. This the point where there storm was at his worse. The crew feeling the most devastated would rally together and fight back against all odds. After a while, seizing him away from his fantasy, a yell from his mother would sound telling him to wrap up his bath and stop the shenanigans, "You're making such a mess in there Michael." At this point Micheal's hands came down to his sides and his imaginary crew would rejoice at their salvation and venture towards home with triumph.
Micheal's imagination ventured back to his quiet tub where he thought on his young adventures. With a child of his own, he found himself asking why these adventures had had such prominence in his childhood dreams. Where plenty of his imaginary story lines changed constantly, this scenario stayed fixed and with constant re-occurrence. Maybe it was because the total and complete control he had over the creation of the storm. There was a certain satisfaction with having this control and always having it result in a happy ending. Unlike the world they lived in today, Michael's imaginary world had choices and destinies shadowed in mystery and intrigue.
As his thoughts continued further and further down the rabbit's hole, Michael's son stormed into the bathroom with so much energy and cried out,
"Dad, Dad, Dad! Are you ready for today? Mom said we might be moving into a bigger house and that I should pack. Is that true?"
Forcing himself to come back to reality and match his son's energy to not seem as jostled as he was, he returned his comment with a mischievous remark.
"Grant! I've told you this before, you know what happens to someone who interrupts bath time,... they get wet!"
Micheal reached over to Grant's arm and pulled him into the tub with him. A joyous laugh came rushing out of Grant's mouth that was cause for alarm for his mother, Jillian, who rushed in and found herself too, snagged by Michael's arm and dragged into the tub.
With all three of them suddenly plunged into the water, Michael relished in this moment where all of them would feel the same. Not just wet, but blissful in the sense that no one knew with a certainty their future, just that it was good. And no one would look at one another with fear or concern.
It was today that Michael would receive his Manifest. He had been waiting 25 years for this moment and today was the day he would be issued his destiny. It was today that he would find out the day that he would die.
Much like his imaginary adventures in the tub as a child, this moment at home was the calm before the storm.