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2004-08-19 - 7:39 p.m.

It is not my standard practice to wander into women’s rest rooms, despite what my middle school career may indicate. (Someone needed to get his hat out of there, and he wasn’t, so...goddamnit. I made a stand.) When one has a bladder so full it’s nigh on rupturing, and leaving one’s kidneys in an ironic urine bath, you make your peace with running into the single stalled room marked with a be-frocked stick figure.

The room is white. Small. And White. The ceiling, tumble-dried with bumpy plaster pock marked all over it. The ceiling and floor in matching white tile. The far wall a mirror. Not that you’d notice any of this. The room is covered in Graffitti. All sides rolling from wall to wall to mirror without even a jerk or pause. Smooth transition. I could only peak at myself in that mirror, spotting shards of my hair, face, shirt through strained half-witty phrases and tags. It wraps around and around like a patchwork scaffolding. The actual wall falls away, as if the ink and lipstick were the substance holding the room together.

Why it is that any sane human being places a mirror two feet above a toilet on any occasion baffles me, just as a full wall worth of mirror in a bathroom does. I need no close ups or detailed representations of pissing. I lock my eyes on my eyes, and do what needs doing, trying to ignore what can only be a disturbing or at least an itchy experience, like the tag on your t-shirt scratching at your back. Not enough to complain about, but a bother none the less.

Carefully placing the stream within the bounds of the toilet lid, in full recognition that this is the girl’s bathroom, I lean I just slightly to be sure any last drops find water rather than rim. I zip. I scoot. Following schedule.

Then, on the door, a break in the knotting curls of pen: a piece of paper. Bordered and printed with care, it reads as follows:

Hey You

Yeah, You!

Welcome back to reality.

Please call the people who still love you.

Or check your e-mail.

And then, nothing…

There is a picture between ‘Hey You’ and ‘Yeah, You.” The subject is blurred, in triplicate, as if the photographer was off balance taking it, as if the subject didn’t want to be taken, didn’t want to show up, and had to be chased down.

I stand there looking at the poster, reaching for the door knob.

The graffiti circles in and out, consistent across all four walls, winding itself into one large entity, like one of those quilts everyone makes a patch of…Dense and thick, it runs all over, and pulls everything in that eight by eight by eight little room, right here, to the one break. Welcome back to reality.

I stand there looking at the poster, reaching for the door knob.

She’s grinning a little in the picture. Her hands by her sides and a little grin. Nothing to exposing, just a little, embarrassed even. Three hanging grins. Please call the people who love you.

I stand there looking at the poster, reaching for the door knob, and for a moment worry that I can’t get out.

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