The Bathroom River

May 19, 2017
By , Park Ridge, IL

We were all on the bathroom floor, staring at the spurs of water bursting out of the pipes, in awe of what had just happened.


About six years ago, when I was in fifth grade, I decided to join my grade school theater club. Some of my friends were in it and said it was fun, so I signed up just in time for the Halloween performance. Twas the night of our first rehearsal and there was tons of energy bouncing around the gymnasium. Everyone was excited and ready to start practicing. Mrs. Marks, the director of the play and a teacher at our school, called each group of kids up to the stage to practice their skit or dance. Since only one group could go at a time, all of the other groups were killing time by running around the gym or gossiping on the bleachers. My group consisted of 5 people. There was Grace (one of my goofy best friends), Christine (a girl who was a few grades above Grace and I and tried to be the leader of the pack), Cara (who was very theatrical and talented), Macy (a younger child who was very shy and followed along with whatever we were doing), and me (just your average fifth grade girl). After about an hour or so of watching other groups perform, Grace had an idea.


“Why don’t we go hang out in the bathroom where it’s quiet and there’s not so many people?”


Christine and I agreed but Cara quickly responded, “I want to stay here and watch the rest of the performances like we’re supposed to.”


Grace and Christine shrugged and led me and Macy into the bathroom, leaving Cara behind.


We stood by the stalls for a while just talking and goofing around. A few minutes later we found ourselves sitting on the counter next to the sinks. We continued talking and hanging out until BAM! The counter comes crashing down, breaking the sink pipes in half and causing mini geysers to shoot from every direction. It poured out fast like rain falling from a stormy sky. We were all on the bathroom floor, staring at the spurs of water bursting out of the pipes, in awe of what had just happened. We sat there, speechless, for about a minute until finally Christine broke the silence.


“OH MY GOSH! What are we going to do?! How did this even happen?! Should we tell someone? We have to tell someone...but we’ll get in so much trouble! Mrs. Marks will kill us!”


Macy stood there for a moment before bursting into tears. We all started to panic.


Macy was curled up in the corner crying, me and Grace were grabbing handfuls of toilet paper and trying to clean up the puddles of water that were growing by the minute, and Christine was pacing back and forth, attempting to come up with a plan. We all seemed to realize that what we were doing wasn’t going to solve the problem, so we came to the conclusion that we needed to tell someone. We huddled up and got our story straight.


Grace explained, “We were all leaning on the counter as we washed our hands and all of a sudden it came crashing down on top of us.”


No one could come up with a better plan so we just went with that. We sneakily looked around and chose a teacher who we thought would buy our story: Miss Sanders, the art teacher. We saw her walking down the hall and decided she would be the best choice. Christine called her over and led her through the door into the “bathroom river,” as Grace called it. Miss Sanders stood in the doorway with wide eyes. Christine quickly babbled our story and asked if she would help us. She hesitantly agreed, still in shock from what she was looking at.
She slowly led us to the office. My palms were sweating and my heart felt like it was beating out of my chest as we walked down the seemingly never ending hallway. When we finally reached our destination, Miss Sanders told us to sit in the small waiting room next to the main office. She peaked through the window before entering. We waited for what felt like hours but was actually about three minutes. Mrs. Lee, our assistant principal, walked out with Miss Sanders and stood in front of us.


“We’ll take care of it.”
That’s all she said. We didn’t know how to respond so we just sat there. As Mrs. Lee walked back into her office Miss Sanders told us to wait where we were until rehearsal ended and our parents came to pick us up.
My mom came and I  tried to act casual as I entered the car.


“How was rehearsal?”
“Good.”
“Did you get a good part?”
“Yup.”
“Well that’s good…”
“Mhmm!”
And then there was silence.


I was worried she could hear my heart pounding in my chest. It was the longest 5 minute car ride of my life. I spent the rest of my night dreading that the phone was going to ring and it would be Mrs. Lee calling to inform my parents of what I had done and to demand us to pay for the replacement counter and sinks. There was never a call and my parents still don’t know about the “bathroom river” to this day.


On Monday, the first day back after the incident, my friends and I were worried that our secret would be spilled to our classmates. We made sure not to talk about it if anyone else was around. There was some gossip going around about why the counters were under construction in the bathroom. We kept our mouths shut. The new counters were up and ready to use within the next week and the drama blew over but every time I stepped foot in that bathroom, all that came to mind was the bathroom river.






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