The Girls' Bathroom This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

Whatever you call it – “the Ladies,” loo, or WC – the girls' bathroom at a school is a focal point of socialization and personal retreat. Its importance extends beyond being a place to go to when nature comes calling; in fact, it sometimes seems as if only a small percentage enter the land of misaligned pink tiles and leaky faucets for the purpose of actually using the toilets within.

Monday morning dawns, and a new school day begins.

At 9:35 a.m., the Ladies' room is Gossip Girl Central as a gaggle of giggling girls whisper excitedly over the latest development in So-and-So's ongoing battle for the affections of her true love. As she is egged on by her friends, So-and-So becomes seriously misguided into believing that her fluttering eyelids are actually effective in captivating her crush and capturing his heart. For exactly eleven minutes, the girls nitpick over the boy's actions and, taking a miscue from them (retching is mistakenly thought to be a glowing smile), they exit with the expectations that So-and-So will be asked out by her crush by the end of the day.

At 10:20 a.m., the WC is an Art Gallery as So-and-So carefully carves her and her crush's initials into the cracked wall of Stall 2. All around her, the metal is ridged with written miscellanea: forgotten loves, failed wishes, and crude, misprinted phrases (“Skool sucks” appears to be one of the more popular ones). After ensuring that the initials are entwined and enclosed by a curlicue heart, So-and-So unlocks Stall 2's door and leaves for third period.

At 12:15 p.m., the loo is a hideaway as Miss Coke-Bottle Glasses enters Stall 4, locks the door, ensures the top of the toilet is closed, and sits on it. With shaky hands, she unwraps a pitiful sandwich and takes a small bite. The actions are familiar: they're what she does every day at lunch period. She is no misanthrope, but she has long forgone her misconception that she might be able to garner a seat in the cafeteria; her awkward and nerdy disposition ensures that it is impossible for her to eat anywhere but the bathroom lest she face the ridicule and cat calls of the student populous. As Miss Coke-Bottle Glasses ponders this thought, she chases away a stray tear. Her appetite abandoned, she drops the sandwich and hoists her legs up, preparing to wait out lunchtime in Stall 4.

At 12:30 p.m., five minutes before the bell is set to ring for afternoon classes, the girls' bathroom becomes a nest of secrets as The Most Popular Girl enters armed with a toothbrush. Checking carefully that no one is in the other stalls, she goes into and locks Stall 5, the farthest from the entrance. She bends down, pleated skirt barely skimming her thighs, and sticks the toothbrush down her throat. The retching echoes in the stall, a cacophony of sounds that carry a reminder of The Most Popular Girl's mismanagement of her weight. Minutes later, she unlocks Stall 5 and checks her appearance in the mirror: paler, but otherwise the same as when she entered. As the bell rings, she quickly rinses her mouth and leaves.

In Stall 4, Miss Coke-Bottle Glasses shivers, her feet still yards above the ground. This is the ninth time she has witnessed (or rather heard) The Most Popular Girl purging herself of her meal. Hesitating, Miss Coke-Bottle Glasses makes sure that The Most Popular Girl has, in fact, left, before unlocking Stall 4 and scurrying to science lab. She'll never talk about what she knows; what happens in the girls' bathroom stays in the girls' bathroom.

At 2:45 p.m., the Ladies' room becomes a safe haven as So-and-So retreats there, this time her face scarred by tears. Having completely misunderstood her crush's opinion of her and suffered the embarrassing consequences, she dashes into Stall 2 and begins to bawl. Her head is filled with the ghost that was her miscreation of her crush, and the nightmare that is her crush's real-life persona. As her eyes dart around the stall's walls, she spies the heart and initials she carved earlier. Her tears turn to anger, and she violently scratches the letters away. He is now a miscreant in her eyes, a blotch upon her perfect vision of true love. So-and-So wallows in misery and heartbreak, her solitude only broken by the constant reminder of her need to return to Computers that she ignores.

The end of the school day. At 7:50 p.m., the cleaning lady switches off the light and the WC is finally swallowed by darkness … until tomorrow. It is where secrets form, grow, and harvest. It is where girls cry and laugh and rise and fall. It is the girls' bathroom.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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This article has 10 comments. Post your own now!

E.Inis said...
May 20, 2016 at 12:02 pm
I love this piece so very much... Truly captivating in the way it intertwines all of the different elements of the story together and relatable to many young adults. Very well done.
 
Alex_Mac said...
Nov. 2, 2013 at 6:25 pm
Your story was unique in the way that you didn't try to make a "happily ever after" for each of your characters and it was very refreshing. However, I think you could make your story a bit better if you stayed away from cliches – the popular girl has an eating disorder, the nerd girl eats lunch alone and so on. Other than that it was fabulous piece that I thoroughly enjoyed reading and look forward to seeing more of your work!
 
Call_Me_Aria This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 15, 2013 at 12:07 pm
I LOVE THIS so much! It's so true, describing all the stuff that goes on, and I love how you split it up by the time and the perscpective. This is the type of piece that I read, and immediatly feel inspired by :D
 
team_haymitch This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 26, 2012 at 8:50 pm
wow. this is so true. no one has ever really realized the importance of a bathroom, but girl's lives change in there, don't they?
 
aurum_angel said...
Feb. 24, 2012 at 2:56 pm
Nice job! The best part is how true this piece is.
 
routemaster07 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 24, 2012 at 6:43 pm
Thank you! I really appreciate that.
 
aurum_angel said...
Feb. 24, 2012 at 9:39 am
This is a really good piece. You did a good job of showing how the bathroom is like the epicenter of the girls' lives.
 
aurum_angel said...
Feb. 23, 2012 at 7:28 pm
I love this piece. It's so true. You did a wonderful job of describing how the bathroom is the epicenter of the girls' lives.
 
AGirlWithADream said...
Feb. 23, 2012 at 3:46 pm
Also, I forgot to mention that though it was a great story, it was a bit cliche. The girl with the coke bottle glasses eating alone in a stall...The popular girl that other students think has it all together, yet she has a dirty secret...Those are overused, typical high school stereotypes. But overall, the story is great, like I said(:
 
AGirlWithADream said...
Feb. 23, 2012 at 3:43 pm
I think this is a great story. Very descriptive and relatable because these things do, in fact occur in the bathrooms at my school.
 
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