I take a deep breath, tuck my chin down, open the door and slip quickly inside.
I hope nobody is in there; I hope nobody comes in. I glance around anxiously.
The anxiety fills my already full insides. I hate this feeling.
Maybe this was a mistake. Maybe I should have just waited.
I feel my breathing change as my heart beats faster.
Hurry. Hurry up.
I duck into the first available stall and quickly close the door behind me.
I hope nobody comes in.
I rush to relieve myself. To conduct this necessary biological function that ought not be so nerve-wracking and fill me with fear.
I hear the door open. The sound of shoes walking across the floor.
I hold my breath for a second, as if the very cessation of breathing will disappear this threat.
I haven’t even seen this person but I fear them. My fear feels almost like an anger that they have entered this space.
What should I do?
I remain in the stall, barely breathing, paralyzed.
Hurry up. Not me, I’m done. Hurry up stranger with the blue shoes.
I wait. I hope nobody else comes in.
The sound of a toilet flushing brings a moment of relief.
Blue shoes who I fear and therefore do not like despite knowing nothing of her beyond her intruding ankles walks past my stall and to the sink.
The sound of water.
A little more relief.
I hope nobody else comes in. I ready my escape.
The sound of water shutting off. Paper towels being pulled from the machine. Shoes across the floor. Door opening.
This is it, I have to make a run for it now.
This is it, this is what using a public restroom is like for me.
This is it, every time.