Raezana opened her eyes and turned the shower off.  She sighed as she stepped out of the shower, grabbing a blue towel from the towel rack.  She wrapped the towel around her body and looked at herself in the mirror.  The bathroom light was dim, but she could clearly see the bags under her eyes.  Raezana wasn’t sure how she managed to wake up with bags under her eyes every morning, despite being only 28 years old.  Maybe it was the sleepless nights or perhaps it was the drinking.

She turned on the faucet and held her pink toothbrush under the stream of water.  She rinsed off her toothbrush every morning before she brushed her teeth.  A couple of years ago, she had read an article online about how germs float around bathrooms.  Every time you flush a toilet, E. coli and other bacteria spray out of the toilet and land on every surface in the vicinity.  If you happened to be looking into the toilet bowl as you flushed, you would be giving yourself an E. coli facemask.

The article stated that you should always put the lid down to cover the toilet bowl before you flush it, to help limit the spread of germs.  Otherwise, you would be brushing your teeth with toilet water.  Raezana always lowered the lid before she flushed, but she was suspicious that it didn’t actually protect her tooth brush from contamination.  She couldn’t risk it, so she always rinsed her toothbrush before she used it.

Raezana picked up the tube of toothpaste from the sink counter and squeezed a pea-sized drop of toothpaste onto her toothbrush.  She methodically moved the toothbrush up and down and side to side over her top row of teeth.  She paused to observe her work, then she brushed the bottom row of teeth.  She stroked the brush over her tongue, and then she massaged her gums.

She held her toothbrush under the stream of water again.  She checked it to make sure that there wasn’t any toothpaste left on it before she returned it to the toothbrush holder.  She bent over, filled her mouth with water, and swished it around for a few seconds.  She spit out the water and flashed her teeth at herself in the mirror.

“I wonder how much time I just wasted by brushing my teeth?” she asked herself.  It was impressive how long it took her to get washed up and dressed in the morning.  She could never waste enough time getting to work.  When Raezana was in high school, her mother always woke her up 30 minutes early, just to account for the amount of time that she spent in the bathroom.

Raezana’s motivation for wasting time was different back then.  Although she didn’t waste time on purpose, she usually ended up staring at herself blankly in the mirror as she tried to remember whether she’d finished her homework that was due that day, or studied for a test, or asked her parents for lunch money.  She always seemed to be worrying herself about something in the morning.

Raezana wondered whether it was normal for a human brain to take an hour to “warm up” in the morning before it became useful.  If Raezana got out of bed at 7 AM, she would not be able to hold a coherent conversation until 8 AM.  For a short time Raezana experimented by waking up at 8 AM instead of 7 AM, but she found that she wasn’t functional until 9 AM.  It was a disappointment, since she was continually looking for excuses to get more sleep in the morning.

Suddenly, she realized that she had stopped washing up when she started thinking about high school.  She shook her head.  It was the story of her life.  She picked up her washcloth and washed her face.

As she stepped out of the bathroom, her cell phone rang.  She walked into the room and answered the phone.  It was Se’Quasha.

“Where are you?!?” came the question from her exasperated coworker.

“I’m not coming in.”

“What?!?”

Raezana hung up the phone and smiled.  Her day just got a lot better.  It had been weeks since she’d last called out of work, and she could use a day off.  Plus, Se’Quasha was going to be pissed, which made it even better.

Raezana heard some birds chirping and looked out the window in front of her.  It was a bright sunny day, typical of a Friday.  The weather always seemed to be perfect on Monday mornings.  The universe tended to give Raezana every reason possible to dread the beginning of the workweek.  However, it so happened that she had just extended her weekend by another day.  For once, the sunny weather lifted her spirits rather than crushed them.

Raezana happily bounced up the stairs to her bedroom.  She hummed as she pulled out the dresser drawer.  She put on a tank top over a yellow sports bra and a pair of shorts.  Back downstairs, she made herself a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast.  Raezana hated oatmeal.  She had hated oatmeal ever since she was a little girl, but she forced herself to eat it almost every morning for the health benefits.  Plus, she needed the extra fuel to get through her workouts at the gym.

She usually went to the gym after work, but it was hard to motivate herself to go some days.  After sitting at a desk for 8 hours, she typically did not want to do anything except for drink wine.  She often skipped going to the gym entirely on Mondays.  Her Monday would-be gym sessions tended to be replaced by self-loathing and regret.  Regardless, she dragged herself to the gym more often than not, because she always felt better about her life after an intense workout.

The hot kickboxing instructor taught a class at the gym at 11:00 AM every weekday.  She was excited that she could actually attend his morning class today.  He taught classes in the evenings as well, but they tended to be overcrowded.  It was hard for her to find an opportunity to talk to him during the evening rush hours.  Whenever she did manage to get his attention, their conversations were inevitably interrupted by a sweaty gym patron seeking his advice on nutrition or squatting technique.

Raezana put her empty bowl in the dishwasher and filled up her water bottle.  She checked herself in the mirror again before she left the house.  Her hair was haphazardly pulled back into a ponytail, but there was only so much she could do to control her outrageous hair.  It tended to be especially angry on Monday mornings, most likely as a reflection of her overall mood.

She didn’t worry about it too much today, since she was going to the gym.  There was no reason to fuss over her appearance.  Women always seemed out of place if they looked beautiful while running on the treadmill.  Raezana always wondered why they put on make up to work out.  They looked silly dabbing the sweat from their foreheads in an effort to prevent their mascara from running.

Raezana pulled some red lipstick out of her purse and applied it to her lips.  There probably wouldn’t be any “cute” girls in class today, since they’d be at work.  It would not be difficult for her to compete with the overweight housewives that were just thankful to escape from their children for an hour.  She would definitely stand out, especially today.

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