Author's Note: "Eternally Perplexed" was my first attempt at writing a Shakespearean sonnet and actually won me second prize (out of about 100 entries) in a contest at my college. It runs with the idea that the world screws you beyond repair sometimes. The latter piece, "The Restroom," started with just that first line. The creative writing class I was in at the time wanted to see where it could go. Enjoy!
I’ve breeched the boundaries time and space endowed
No longer, within bodies, do I roam
A habit of old habits lingers on
As I shall always wonder what went wrong
My bowels erupted and war was declared in the second story bathroom of Bloomingdale’s. The trainwreck in my intestines began in line, as my wife paid for her 42nd pair of designer shoes. It can wait, I thought. I’d been out all day and often feared the unknown horror that hid in public restrooms. But soon, I would create a new generation of public-potty-phobics.
I could’ve made it safely home if it hadn’t been for that damn fountain placed behind the checkout counter. “It’s so pretty,” she said, as I wiggled nonchalantly, adjusting my position to compensate for the coming panic. “I think it’s time to break my record,” I muttered, and sprinting in short strides with my cheeks clenched, I moved towards the elevator, advancing with choppy, robotic movements.
I jabbed the “up” button a hundred times waiting for that geezer of an elevator to make it’s way down and when I stepped inside, a lady and her son followed. I was practically dancing at that point, the intensity in my abdomen rising every moment. The child mocked me, squirming and wiggling, alarming his mother. She rightfully smacked his behind, purging tears from his chubby little face. And of course, the tears set me off more than the fountain had moments earlier.
The doors finally opened and the little boy’s wailing faded as I picked up the pace. I could see the glorious doors in sight. I was running in such a way that you would’ve thought my jeans were too tight, but I was almost there. I reached for the handle. NO! It was locked! My lower lip quivered.
The door behind me opened up, it was the ladies room. Did I dare? I had no choice. I peered around to make sure no one was looking, slipped quickly inside and relieved myself in an utterly disgusting fashion I refuse to describe.