Bathroom break

Catching my breath, I wiped tears from my eyes while squatting to look under the stall doors. Fluorescent lights glowed against white tiled floors, the smell of bleach lingered. Standing in the  middle of the room, my reflection trembled in the mirror, making me feel uneasy and too exposed. I shut myself in a bathroom stall, laid paper across the seat and sat, fully clothed.

The morning’s depositions reluctantly turned into the afternoon’s main attraction. My stomach churned. I just needed this to be over. Hours of personal questions and embarrassing realizations had drained every once of courage from my body. My voice wavered, taunting my sanity, pushing me to unprecedented silence.

Hiding in the bathroom was my only option. Every attorney, mediator and assistant ironically were men. No one would come for me. The clean smell was refreshing against the staleness of the stuffy conference room. I sat, head in my hands, replaying every conversation. My need to be liked was getting in the way of being direct and properly aggressive. Foolishly, I still hoped he would be the man I thought I had married. Of course, if he had been, we wouldn’t have been going through this legal dance.

“Everything OK in there?”

DW’s comforting voice echoed through the door. He sat by my side, holding my hand, all afternoon. He was every bit the man I had married.

“Yeah – I’ll be out in just a minute,” I replied.

Lifting my head, I stared blankly at the grey metal door, void of any graffiti. It was time to be the woman and mother I knew I could be, stop the silence and speak the truth loudly. As I stood to open the door, I started giggling. My father’s voice suddenly stuck in my head, “shit or get off the pot” he told me a few months prior.

“Well, Dad,” I chuckled, “I guess I’m ready to get off the pot.”

This post was loosely inspired by last week’s Write On Edge writing prompt. We were asked to focus on setting to deepen the reader’s connection to our story. We had the choice of using the setting to help develop characters, plot, or simply the mood of our story. Memoir writers could describe any setting in our past that holds meaning in our lives.

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