When you lose part of your childhood, you feel deserted. When I did, I lost my trust in other people. I think it was because of something that happened when I was five or six. I spent the summer in Vermont with my mother. She was taking classes at a division of Middlebury College called Bread Loaf. While she was taking classes, I was sent to day care. I was being sent; I wouldn't have gone of my own will.
My day care was called Croutons. I never liked it there. Not many girls went; I only remember being with boys. The first problem that irked me about this day care was the name. Croutons are pieces of stale bread that you put in salad. At that age I didn't notice being compared to stale bread. But now I can tell that I was cared for as a child. I was my parent's stale bread. How wonderful!
I was sent to Croutons every day for four hours. The group was small, about ten people. The other kids were older, maybe nine or ten. They were nice to me, but they seemed to be plotting against me. I hung around them though, because I thought they were the gods of Croutonism.
I was dropped off at a cabin every day. It had one room, and no bathroom that I could see. But they did have a Porta Potty. I hadn't been introduced to Porta Potties, yet. I avoided it as much as I could. I didn't like the looks of it. It reminded me of a coffin. It had such a putrid smell. I didn't dare open the door in case I found a carcass that had been decaying for millions of years. I made a point of going to the bathroom every day before I left the house.
But one time I forgot. After we ate our snack I realized I couldn't wait until I got home. I left my leaders, my gods (the ones I respected so much because they were so mature), to go to the dreaded coffin, my soon-to-be-tomb. Maybe they would make a monument for me, a large statue of a Porta Potty. A Porta Potty wouldn't be right. If they loved me, they could at least sculpt something more appropriate, a salad with stale bread perhaps.
When I got to the door of the Porta Potty, I looked behind me. To my surprise, my idols were all looking for me, maybe they cared. I couldn't be afraid of a Porta Potty, how infantile I would look. I stepped inside. No carcass, but the stench seemed to increase. I didn't lock the door so I could make a fast escape. It wasn't fun looking at the green wall. Whoa! Different shades of green. But suddenly it wasn't the puce green coffin wall anymore. Instead the scene changed to leaves and boys. My gods stood there laughing their heads off, while I was shocked, caught with my pants down, literally. The kids I had worshipped, those "mature" beings had now stooped so low that I could never even look at them again. I grabbed the door and swung it shut. I heard them run away laughing. I was more mature than they were. How could they be older? I had trusted them. Not anymore. I wouldn't trust anyone as I had before.
I stayed in that Porta Potty the rest of the day. When my mom picked me up, I was so mad. I was mad at her; she was the one who had sent me to that bread-molding heaven, mad I ever trusted them. My mom told me to ask the teacher at Croutons to come with me to the bathroom. My fear of Porta Potties still continues, but I always lock the door. n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.