I slide across the warm pine seating into the dimly lit corner.
With a friendly ‘hello’, the only other occupant shuffles clumsily towards me. Uncomfortably close.
‘Not a great sauna, this one.’
I don’t respond. I’m not here to talk.
‘Asian countries do it best. Real coal, real water. Menthol. Oh, I love Asia. You must have been.’
I don’t respond.
‘Sailed there on my yacht. Slept with whales. If you’ve not done it, you must.’
I don’t respond.
He twists round on the bench. The damp hairs on his leg would be brushing my knee if they were freed from the glue of sweat.
For the first time, I turn to look at him. A drip has formed on the end of his nose, elongating it, Pinocchio style. I laugh inwardly.
‘Think I’ll fly to Sweden next week. You can join me. Must do good saunas there. Always seats available. In Business Class.’
His words flow easily, like the tumbling sand in the timer on the wall behind him.
He rubs his belly, sending a glittering shower in my direction. Our sweat intertwines on my thigh. I stare at it as it merges into tiny streams and trickles slowly down my leg. I feel contaminated.
With one well performed flick of the wrist, I manage to direct a few droplets back onto him.
For me, this action demonstrates my disgust.
For him, no doubt, an encouragement.
I rise and push past him, avoiding all contact.
‘Going already?’
‘Too much hot air in here’, I respond.
I walk out and leave the door wide open.


Originally published: Glittery Literary