Dinner with Friends

The small space was basically a box; three feet wide, six feet deep, and eight feet high. She reluctantly stepped inside. The floor was cold and hard. As she crouched down, she could smell urine and noticed the offending yellow stain. Her thighs burned as she held the awkward position. Seconds turned into minutes. She lowered her knees to the floor, surrendering to her physical discomfort. Nothing in her past had prepared her for this. She tried to visualize a serene beach with the radiant sun beating down on her, warming her core. "Go to your safe place," she told herself. Suddenly, reality came piercing through her mantra.

"Mommy, tell me a story," said the small child perched on the toilet in front of her.

"After you pee in the potty," she said pleading with the girl. That prompt had worked magic just two days ago. Lydia desperately clung to the hope that the bribe was enough to free her from the germ infested stall.

"I'm all done," the girl protested.

Lydia sighed in resignation. "Okay, let's get you down," she said. She began the laborious task of reassembling her willful child without touching a single surface in the public restroom. "Let me get these tights up. Becka, please stay still. Please help me with these tights. Honey, we've got to get your leotard on."

"Look, Mommy, the toilet is talking."

"Great. Please, honey, arms through sleeves. Okay, let's get your sweater on. Let's not put hands in the toilet," Lydia suggested.

Dazed and shaky, she rejoined her dining companion. High pitched screams echoed in the stark play area. Smiling, Lydia wondered how her friend managed it with five kids and a husband deployed overseas.

"I forgot that we came directly from ballet class. The leotard adds a whole new dimension," Lydia explained, settling in to her dinner.

"Mommy, I need to go potty right now."

"Go to your safe place," thought Lydia, meekly prodding herself.


Trifecta - Week Fourteen

safe adj \ˈsāf\ 

1   free from harm or risk : unhurt

2   a: secure from threat of danger, harm, or loss 
     b: successful at getting to a base in baseball without being put out

3   affording safety or security from danger, risk, or difficulty 


  1. I sense a bigger back story here. Well written.

    That said - don't you just hate disassembling and then reassembling kids for those bathroom breaks? :)

  2. Oh goodness I don't have children which probably makes it worse for me. When I take a kid in one of those public germ infested bathrooms I am terrified they are going to catch something horrible and it will be all my fault. My nieces think i am insane. I get "Mommy doesn't cover the ENTIRE stall with paper Auntie.." and other such comments...great piece!

  3. Ahhh!! This makes my germaphobe skin crawl! (Meaning, really well done.)

  4. Good self advice considering the situation.

  5. Y'alls comments are cracking me up! (I'm a Texan, so I can legitimately say "Y'all".)

  6. Oh ow. I've SO been there with the kid who INSISTS he has to potty and then gets in there, gets grossed out and refuses to go, but then needs to go so is back in ten minutes. Oh yeah.

  7. There are hints of a bigger story in there. And also? HATE re-dressing children in a tiny, tiny stall. SO much:)

  8. Thanks for joining up this week. Great interpretation of this week's prompt. I love the repeat of her mantra towards to the end of the piece: 'Go to your safe place'. Any of us who have kids recognise this story and you tell it expertly. Hope to see you for the weekend prompt.


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