“I like fucking powerful men,” my friend once told me, I found the statement inefficient at best. The warm water around me is fogged with soap as it sloshes gently against my body. The word, power, rocks back and forth, paces the boundaries of my mind. Splashing water on my face, even with eyes closed the word stares me down. What’s the context? Individual situations are sensitive to various stimuli depending on context and variables within. I watch steam crawl from the bath one tendril at a time as I formulate a way to describe power to myself. At times manipulating and influencing another being is a form of power. Although most often power is synonymous with money, it can purchase loyalty, an opinion, safety, and even love.

Not so lost in thought that I overlook her entrance into the dimly lit bathroom. “I kind of want to get in with you,” her voice sounds quiet against the heart of the city pulsing outside the window.

“Hop in,” I drain some water as she undresses and eases a foot in. I start gently dragging my already soapy washcloth over her shoulder and down her arm. Goosebumps speckle her skin as I lather the washcloth once more.

She averts her eyes but allows me to take her hand. I can’t stop the corners of my mouth from upturning into a smirk as I gently wash her hand. Slowly working my way up her arm.

Power. A new set of goosebumps rise on her neck as I carefully smear soap across the delicate skin. This is power given. I take her other hand, she still gazes awkwardly away from me.

Each of us decide what power is to us. It changes depending upon which has grasped our gaze. We give each other power, we take power from each other. To empower someone is not the same as surrendering your own power.