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The Eclectic Pen - The Bathroom

By: Tina L. (tinamachina)  
Date Submitted: 8/10/2007
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs » Memoirs
Words: 1,819

  "With a little bit of money we could buy us a car.", she sang. "With a little luck we could get away from where we are...let's get out of here...". She let the note drop, and contented herself to hum the chorus as she browsed the internet. She wasn't really hearing the songs anymore, since she had the same five on loop for the last few hours. It probably bugged him, but she didn't think much about it. He could always listen to his headphones if he didn't like her music. Or give her an amateur analysis on the psychological reasons behind her choice of songs. Scoffing silently to herself, she glanced over to his corner.

You could make a little story of his life here by the way he concentrated all of his belongings in that one area. All around his computer were traces of his personality, strewn about in logical order. A pile of CDs and games, mail from friends, a blanket tossed over the back of the chair, the paperboard and exacto knives on top of all the magazines he was going to use for a big collage project. Lastly, his machine. His baby. His real life was not in the objects she could pick up, but within the wires cables and circuits of his portal to the world around him.

How she wanted him gone.

The degradation of any relationship is sad, but when you're forced to live life while breathing in the ashes of your failed begin to dramatize everything. All of their quirks that were once endearing make you cringe. You begin to hear their fake laughter on the phone. Eventually the sound of their breathing makes you want to punch them in the face, if only for a moment of satisfaction.

The idea of this floating through her mind, she saw him walk past her to his little corner and grab something from his pile of things. He was wrapped in a towel, but still wearing his t-shirt. Probably on his way to take a shower. He very purposefully walked back down the hall, giving her a look she was sure he meant to be meaningful. To her, it simply looked pompous. They conversed more in expressions than words these days, and she chose to ignore most of his. Silence was better than another argument.

Hearing the water run, she forgot about him again and set about losing herself online. Today she needed only to kill time, not enjoy it. She had woken up late on her day off and, without someone to meet or visit, knew the surest way to avoid him would be to simply stay in her own corner and leave him in his. They had gotten in a small tiff that morning about who would drive who to work the next day, and she was thus avoiding any further discussion.

Eventually she zoned out to the music, to her friends she was talking to. To thoughts of a life where she didn't cry herself to sleep. It was only the prolonged absence of him that made her look at her surroundings. He wasn't in his corner. She listened for the sound of the shower, but realized that she had never actually heard it turn on. Just the water running. She supposed he could have drawn himself a bath. But he had been in there for quite a while already. How long of a bath does a boy not yet in sight of his nineteenth birthday take?

She pushed it away, and resumed her diliberate ignorance of him. She checked her dailies. She looked for new mail. She did everything to occupy herself and was annoyed to find that she could not get away from the desire to know why he was taking such a long bath. He never took baths. She hated herself for this curiousity, but that wasn't going to make it go away.

Getting up from her chair, she turned to walk down the hall. The bathroom was two doors down, on the right. Her feet made no sound on the carpet, but their silence was only met with more of the same from the bathroom. She purposefully made her movement to be as quiet as possible, so that she wouldn't have to explain that she simply wanted to know what he was doing. There was no longer that polite sort of inquiry between them. They were ex-lovers sharing the same living area. Politeness was replaced with a cold sort of civility.

She was close enough now to put her ear close to the door, and her the hair on her arms raised inexplicably. The only sound she could make out was a lazy sort of plink. The faucet in their shower always leaked, but this was the plink the was made by a drop of water falling into standing water. Bathwater. She stood there for a full minute, almost daring another sound to come from the room behind the
door she stood so rigidly posed in front of. There was nothing, except that incessent plinking of the leaky faucet.

Suddenly she remembered the look he gave her before he had gone to the bathroom, how she had dismissed it. She thought of him grabbing something (?what??) from his corner, not knowing what it had been. She mentally listed all the things it could have been, and her breath caught in her throat when she got to what seemed to be the most important item; the exacto blades.

She had never been presented with death in her life. It seemed to her that it was only something to be read about, or seen in a movie. No matter what her first conclusion led her to, there was no way that she could allow herself to settle on it as an answer. Forgetting cold civility, she knocked on the door.

"Hey, you ok in there?" she called. She swallowed what felt like a rock but was merely her own spit as she waited for an answer. But there was still nothing to be heard.

She knocked a little harder, telling herself that maybe he fell asleep. A warm bath, it's realaxing, right?

"Hey! Wake up in there! I need to pee!" she said, though she didn't think she could possibly urinate right now even if you had a gun to her head. Every part of her body was tuned into hearing the blessedly relieving reponse of any kind from behind the door. A splash, water displacement, the curtain moving. Anything.


And she felt the panic rising.

All she could think about was all the fights they'd had, the arguments, the screaming. A vein she could feel pulsing in her head as she yelled that she wanted him gone, out of her life her house her sight. Out of the state. Go back where you came from, just LEAVE ME ALONE. Go! She told him to go, just please leave. All the crying. All the hurt. The broken promises and the shattered dreams. Everything they had thought they would build for themselves, together. All gone. And he wasn't answering her calls to him now. He was silent, behind a door that suddenly felt three feet thick.

She tried to turn the handle of the door, but it was locked. She hit the wall in front of her, and gave a little scream of frustration. She ran into the kitchen and threw open The Drawer. The one that held every household item that didn't seem to have a place. She threw aside everything, searching for a cheap pen. The lock on the bathroom was a useless kind that you could open by simply putting in the tube of ink from inside an everyday pen through a small hole on the outside knob. The trouble was, she couldn't find a pen.

She pulled open the door between the basement floor, where she was, and the top floor where her sister lived. She took the steps two at a time and found her sister in the kitchen immersed in books and papers.

"I need a pen!" she cried.

Her sister looked up and was frozen for a moment, seeing the unusual sight of this girl so frazzled.

"A PEN!" she cried once more.

"Why do you nee-" her sister started, but she grabbed the pen from her hand before the words fully formed.

She ran back down the stairs, pulling out the ink tube with her teeth as she went. She jumped the last few steps and slipped on the carpet, coming down hard on her knee. She crawled back to the bathroom door and shoved the tube into the small hole...but the lock stayed locked. There was no click of release. She pushed and pushed again, but there was nothing. It wouldn't open. She began banging helplessly on the door, feeling herself starting to cry. Calling his name and nearly screaming for him to come out, come out, this wasn't funny anymore.

She slumped down against the wall opposite the door and let herself cry. She kicked the door one last time, feeling useless. She hadn't tried to stop him. It was all her fault. She kept thinking these thoughts, the crying blocking out all the sounds she had tried so hard to listen for before, when the door opened.

She stood up, unbelieving. Her eyes were still full of tears, and he was blurred until they fell down over the swell of her cheeks. He looked at her with the same pompous face that he had before he went into the bathroom, his glasses fogged by the steam, and walked past her back to the living room. To his corner. She was left in the hallway, her hands hanging limply at her sides.

She walked into the living room, and just stood there in silence, waiting for him to see her, to admit to her presence. He seemed to be ignoring her existance completely, until finally he sighed as if he knew he couldn't ignore her forever and turned around. He spoke to her as if speaking to a small child.

"I did that to teach you a lesson." he said.

The sound that came out of her mouth was somewhere between a scoff and a cry. This was not what she had expected.

"A lesson?" she asked.

"Yes. That you should cherish your friends, because you don't know how long you'll have them."

He looked at her steadily, his eyes refusing to break contact with her own. She felt her lungs begin to fill with air.

And she started to scream.

The Eclectic Pen » All Stories by Tina L. (tinamachina)

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Comments 1 to 4 of 4
Sheyen - , - 8/11/2007 9:24 AM ET
This is such my life right now, eeeeek, good story!
Lena S. (SquirrelNutkin) - 8/12/2007 9:03 AM ET
wow!This was incredible......very,very well done!
Silvercat - - 8/19/2007 4:53 AM ET
Yikes! You sure got my attention! Nice piece of writing...
IONE L. (zaneygraylady) - 8/24/2007 9:35 PM ET
great story so real
Comments 1 to 4 of 4