It’s 104 degrees and there’s a bug in my shirt.
That’s just me sweating. We pass strange bars, crystal shops, and the Gangster Museum. We’re not speaking to each other. Am I being a bitch or is it just the heat? Or the 80% humidity mixed with steam from the fountains and hot tunnel? We pass a decrepit hotel in silence. The Majestic. It’s a relic of the by-gone era of hot spring resort tourism, taller than anything else in town and all brick. There is one bathhouse that’s been preserved, called the Fordyce Bathhouse. It’s a National Park and free to tour. We part ways and I ascend the marble stairs solo, standing up straighter amidst the dapper charm. The Fordyce opened in 1915, with fountains, tubs and personal steam tanks that look like torture devices. I look up at the stain glass roof in the Men’s Bath Hall.