As Delilah stood in the entry, Samson closed the door to his room. He inhaled deeply, holding the air inside, accepting the space it took up for as long as he possibly could. Releasing the carbon dioxide that replaced the oxygen was the best feeling he’d had all day. Then he loosened his tie. He let his long neck circle to bring his chin down around the edges of the crisp starchy collar to pull his tie up over his head, still knotted, before unbuttoning one cuff around his wrist then the other and lifting the whole shirt over his head to drop to the floor with the tie. Instead it caught on the door knob, its cuff draping over the tie that snaked on the floor.
He plodded his shoe-pinched feet over the rug raising static as he slid his way to the bathroom. The water in the apartment turned hot slowly. As he waited for it to warm up Samson unbuckled his belt, unzipped his trousers, and let the weight of his belt carry the pants to his feet. He used his big toes to pull off his socks and reached out his fingertips to the beating water of the shower. It still felt cold, but he took off his boxers and delicately stuck his foot in the shower, bringing each piece of his body under the cold stream of water.
He shivered for another minute before the shower head erupted with heat, steaming up the small bathroom almost immediately. Samson’s mouth had already formed the yelp of pain, but he remembered Delilah was somewhere in the apartment and he held it back, not wanting her to hear. He sucked in the steaming air instead, hissing like the stream of water from the shower head, nearly inaudible.
For a moment Samson wondered what Delilah would do, if he had let himself yell, and pictured her neck craned around, eyes bulging in surprise and wondering what to do. Or would she knock on the door, interrupting his private peace with her concern.
On the tip of his toes Samson pranced back and forth to withstand the high temperature and reaching out his arm to the tap. Hair coated the top of his arm in black wavy lines. As he turned his back, the tap the temperature cooled to a bearable degree and he finally let himself soak under the comfortable pulse of water.
Despite the temperamental water heater, the apartment had great water pressure, he thought with pleasure. He loved this apartment. It was a find, in this city. No ugly concrete wall obscured the view from the bedrooms and the plumbing almost always worked. It was a solid investment, Samson reassured himself. He spun the tap around until the water stopped pouring. He listened, waiting to hear the sounds of someone else moving around his apartment, but total silence met his ears.
Samson shook his head, realizing he was holding his breath again, and had in fact been holding each breath all day. Then he toweled himself dry and leaped across the four feet from bathroom to bed, not bothering to move under the blankets or even shift a pillow under his head before falling soundly asleep.