Eating Sweets in a Bathroom Stall
The stranger has wet herself. She tips her head close to yours.
You just want to shop, buy vegetables for dinner, some sort of meat. You don’t have time. It’s late, or early, your list is long. You’re wearing the good skirt, the one that skims the waist, slims your legs. But there’s her dress, now sopping. She’s bunching the fabric, trying to hide the accident, and this small dank space smells like a pen of untrained puppies.
You must be an angel, she says.
You’re no angel. You’re removed, mysteriously lifted from the stench of spreading urine. You banter, a light voice over her heavy motorized cart as you hoist her hips and raise the dress from fleshy legs. You’re talking over the shame you both feel.
Will you open this diaper, she asks. You rip the package, and help her in. Her ankles are thick, her socks wet. Where pity, shock or sorrow should be, you feel absence. You wipe her legs, the seat of her cart.
She’s not crying, not yet. But she’s breathing hard as she palms an inhaler, the same kind you carry in your purse. When I get upset, she says, dragging long on a small puff. It's then you crumble. She is you. This will be you. This may already be you.
Everything moves slow in this confessional. It takes four turns to maneuver the cart out of the stall. At the sink, you wash away secrets. At the door, she stops, reaches in her basket, says, Let’s have a snack. You don’t want to eat sweets in a dirty grocery store bathroom.
You feel sick. You hesitate. But it’s all she has to give, so you say, Please let me help you open that. This gesture, this simple fix,
it’s all you have, too.
- Drew Myron
It's Thankful Thursday.
Gratitude. Appreciation. Praise.
Please join me in a weekly pause
to appreciate people, places & things.
What are you thankful for today?