One of the few things that I remember about my first childhood home, which my family had lived in until I was eight, is the shower drain. The grate covering the drain wasn’t screwed in, so it simply rested in the indentation of the drain hole. Every now and then I would accidently kick it out of place while showering, exposing the softball-size drain below. The uncovered drain became a dark abyss in the middle of the shower and when I would look down into it a dull throb would kick in my stomach, a slow torturous feeling, like being jabbed maliciously and repeatedly with the nub of a broom handle. Every time the depth and darkness of the drain was exposed I would have the same overwhelming fear-a snake. I had intense, paralyzing images of a snake slithering up from the drain, slowly and broodingly coiling its never-ending body around my legs, caressing every inch of my skin with its pipe grime laden underbelly, wrapping itself tighter and tighter around me, until it was tickling my chin with its thin, lisping tongue. I would go down in history as the young girl who died in the shower by a snake attack, all while my mother was washing dishes in the next room. To think! The misery of it all! I would use my toes to grasp the drain grate and drag it back into place as quickly as possible, to block the dreaded snake from emerging from the darkness, to return all back to its proper place, to put life back in order.  The unknown, the dark, it all seemed to converge into all the dismal possibilities of the world or rather, at that time, probably just the dismal possibilities of my young life.

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