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Potty This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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My teeth ground together, my knuckles grew white, my biceps swelled with effort. Crinkling my eyes in concentration, I knew I had to fulfill my duty: I must keep the Port-A-Potty door closed.
We could hear drunken men stumbling around outside our cramped sanctuary, their voices slurring and beer bottles crashing to the cement. Ten o’clock on a summer Saturday night in Pensacola Beach, Florida, was not an ideal time or place for three 15-year-old girls to be roaming alone. Hannah, Allison, and I had been left behind by our swim team when we stopped for a mint chocolate chip ice cream cone.
Now here we were, crowded into a handicapped Port-A-Potty so we could at least change out of the wet bikinis that none of us filled out, feeling like three stupid baby rabbits about to be devoured by hungry foxes.
After several frenzied minutes of tittering in the pitch-black confinement, we finally decided on a plan. One of us would keep the creaky door closed, one would hold up her cell phone as a feeble substitute for a flashlight, and the third would change into dry clothes.
Trying to feel accomplished for devising such a brilliant system, but nonetheless more terrified than when I got lost in Venice for half an hour, I kept the frantic voices in my head to myself. What if those men find out we’re in here? What if we get raped? How are we going to get back to the bus? Though they didn’t say anything, I’m pretty sure Allison and Hannah were having similar thoughts – I could see it in Allison’s death-grip on the door and in the uncharacteristic quiver in Hannah’s voice as she repeated inaudible prayers.
Ten minutes later, we were ready. Arms loaded with soggy swimsuits and sandy towels, we grabbed each other’s hands, counted to three (1 … 2 … wait! 1 … 2 … 2 1/2 … 2 3/4 … 3!) and carefully pushed open the Port-A-Potty door, using our sleeves to avoid touching the handle. We spotted my mom and Hannah’s mom sitting in my mom’s car about 20 yards away, their faces damp with sweat from worrying. We ran to them.
Now, almost a year later, we laugh about that horrible situation, jokingly retelling our story.
“I wasn’t scared,” Hannah pronounces, with her hands on her hips.
“It really wasn’t that bad. Those drunk guys didn’t scare me!” Allison declares, her green eyes flashing, daring someone to challenge her.
“Yeah,” I lie, “me neither.”
Maybe they weren’t scared. Maybe it wasn’t that bad, but still, my pulse quickens every time I tell the story. Once more, I smell the stale odor of cigarettes and beer, taste the salty sea residue and minty ice cream on my lips, but also I hear Hannah’s falsely confident voice and feel Allison’s fingers in mine. Like that old Cherokee fable about trying to break apart a bundle of sticks, on that night we weren’t three, but an indestructible one.

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 4 comments. Post your own!

JusticeLiberty said...
Aug. 21, 2011 at 12:12 pm:
I love the emotion and personal thoughts you put into it. It allows us (the readers) to really see how you were feeling! :) Keep writing! That was awesome!
 
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DaydreamBeliever This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 20, 2010 at 9:53 pm:
really good. you described it so well, it almost feels like i was there :P
 
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sunnyhunny This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 19, 2010 at 7:16 am:
thrilling and then funny!  Cute story, really nice job.
 
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hollister13 said...
Oct. 1, 2008 at 4:29 pm:
wow this was an amazing story im not kidding i thought it was gripping and pretty scary
 
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