June 17, 2001.
In the tub I am intoxicated by the warm, clear, clean water. My mind travels. My body stays put, and the room is locked shut, set apart from my Aunt Amra's busy chatter in the living room; the awkward rhythms of my Uncle Dzenid's one leg and a crutch; and, the heavy sulking of my cousin Dragan, their teenage son. They talk of dinner plans, the closing of a Sarajevo bank, the last time they saw my stepfather. Or at least this is what I imagine they are saying. Really, I understand nothing of Bosnian and so I invent not only the words but also the emotions.
Everyone in this house is a character in my radio play, and I am the naked director in the tub, the privileged thief of all the hot water left in this city. For these fifteen minutes, this new family of mine becomes the actors in a story I'm free to improvise. Soon the lovely hot water will become tepid. There will be no more of the precious liquid until the morning. I grab a towel, dry off and put on my clothes. As the water flows down the drain, wickedly, as if to tease, I am quickly reminded of my own, unshakable awkwardness. Whoever said that ignorance is bliss?
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