I seized the sides of the toilet seat and gagged, my stomach convulsing repeatedly though nothing came out. Resting my elbows on the seat, I held my head over the toilet bowl and began staring into the water. My spit bubbles were dancing around the pool of relatively-clean water. I just couldn't throw up, no matter how much my stomach insisted otherwise.
It was dark. I was nearly asleep with him lying next to me, our arms intertwined in the most innocent and peaceful way. With it being late and me being comfortable and sleep-deprived, I started to drift off. When my breathing became deeper and more regularized was when his became rigid and shallow. Then his hands began to wander.
I dry heaved again. This time tears began filling my eyes, accompanying my gags. I shook my head violently to alleviate the memory.
He turned his body over so he was facing me and his right hand started traveling down my body. It caressed places he wouldn't dare to touch if he knew I was awake. I was frozen; absolutely paralyzed with fear and tension. I wanted to scream, run, even just have the ability to move, do something; but I was completely incapable. It was as if I'd been injected with some kind of immobilizing venom.
I briskly threw my head up and out of the toilet bowl and examined the bathroom to keep my mind off of the other night.
The light overhead was nauseatingly florescent, giving everything an alien sort-of look. The floor was made up of tiny square beige tiles, which looked as if they were originally white but grew darker and dingier with the build-up of dirt and grime. The grout that separates each of the tiles had turned black in some places with smut. To my right was the toilet paper holder, which held the flimsy and sandpapery toilet paper that schools always had in stock, was attached to the wall in a tilted manner and streaked with lines of some unknown yellow substance. How appealing. The toilet only inches from my face, had a faint smell of someone's feces, nothing too strong but still revolting. It, like everything else in this bathroom, looked scarcely and passionlessly cleaned.
Despite the less-than-perfect conditions, I felt extremely attached and comfortable in his bathroom stall. It was my haven. I didn't have to run into any undesirables here; as long as I stayed within these four walls, I was in total and complete control. I didn't have to go to that inane, pointless class and see him if I didn't want to. No one could make me.
I smirked a little at the smidgen of power I possessed and rested my head again on the toilet seat, enjoying the warm, homey feeling.
I could feel him looking at me, inspecting me, checking for signs of my awakening. Seeing none, he grew more confident as he slid his hand down to the opening of my shorts
"STOP. Get out!" I screeched at the flashbacks. He was invading my mind just as he had invaded my body. "Please, just go away. Stop taking me back there, please." I desperately pleaded to my memories.
"You did this to yourself," hissed a merciless voice from the edges of my mind.
"Stop. I did not!" I persisted despairingly.
"You could've left, you vulnerable little victim." The voice was showing no compassion. I winced at the harsh words coming from my own brain.
"I couldn't! I was too afraid."
"Victim," it hissed again.
I erupted into another fit of gags, heaves and tears over the toilet but I didn't get the satisfaction of actually throwing up and relieving my stomach. I slunk back against the wall and held my stomach and head, trying to stop the emotional and physical torment. My own brain was turning against me. My own brain thought that this was my fault.
You know, maybe it is. Maybe I'm just overreacting and this wasn't really a big deal at all. Maybe I'm just insane.
His hand started pushing up the base of my shorts, sensually stroking my inner thigh and kept moving up- higher and higher. Being physically frozen, I tried to send him telepathic messages telling him to leave me alone, these were messages he obviously didn't receive. All I wanted to do was sleep but it was clear he had different desires.
Suddenly, I had company. The bathroom door swung open and I was greeted with the sound of my fellow female classmates' giggling and chatting.
Oh, yeah, I was in school. The school bathroom. The floor of the school bathroom. Where I've been for over half an hour.
Nothing seemed real, this morning was an absolute blur. Everything around me was faded and fuzzy, like in a dream. I really must be in a dream. With this realization, a surge of apathy overtook me. I didn't care I was supposed to be in class. I didn't care that I was technically "skipping", an offense that could possibly leave to suspension. I was in a dream, so what did any of those rules and regulations matter? Nothing at all. They were all pointless and trivial.
Suddenly, I became panicked. I felt as if the stall walls around me were shrinking and locking me in the middle. I just wanted, no needed, to go home
Just like Dorothy. She needed to go home too. I must be Dorothy. I thought dissociatively. Closing my eyes I clacked my heels together and began wishing as hard as I could to be home. I imagined opening my eyes and seeing my house's front door and my smiling family waiting for me with a batch of cookies. I needed to get out of this poorly-maintained school bathroom and go home, where there wouldn't even be a remote possibility of running into him.
Needless to say, upon opening my eyes I was very disappointed to only see that toilet in front of me. I guess I'm not Dorothy… but I still really had to get home, which was a place I was no way in getting. Maybe, I could venture out of this bathroom and find someone to drive me home…
"Or, you know, you could actually deal with your problems instead of running away." The voice was back.
Hysterically, I clamped my hands over my ears in a futile way to block out the mocking in my head. That voice just didn't understand. I couldn't go to class and see his face, all smug and triumphant; him thinking that I was completely oblivious to the investigation his hands had conducted that night. It would kill me.
Both of his hands now began exploring and caressing my paralyzed body. He touched places I usually protected with my life. How could he think this was all right? I've known him for less than a week and here was, groping me when he thought I was asleep.
Then my phone rang, he jolted at the sudden noise and his hands flew off my body, it was as if I had transformed into a giant fireball under his fingers. He leaned over to pick up my phone sitting on the table next to him and handed it to me as I feigned waking up. The call was from my brother, who was serving as my ride for the night, telling me that he was outside. Flustered, I grabbed my phone and the book I brought over and ran out the door, feeling so grateful to be able to be free from his exploitive fingers.
I sighed and lied down on the bathroom floor, using my backpack as a lumpy pillow. My mind was exhausting me with it's constant wave of memories, insults and dissociation. All I wanted to do was sleep.
But I had to get home first.
I turned around and glanced at the stall door that led to an outside world of functioning and responsibilities. As soon as I walked through it I could no longer curl up in the fetal position or cry like a defenseless child, I'd be on my own. I wasn't sure I could go back to that place just yet; the idea was petrifying. The idea of any place outside the walls of the bathroom stall and my bed are just excruciatingly overwhelming. I just… couldn't do it.
You know, that voice was right, I am always afraid and vulnerable. I didn't want to be a fearful victim anymore. That's it. I'm going to go out there and be an adult.
But he is going to be there when I get back to class, watching and analyzing, being so complacent with the fact that I was totally unaware of his actions the other night. Or so he thought. Anything could be on the other side of that bathroom door, for all I know, he could be waiting for me. Maybe... I wasn't strong enough to handle all of that.
"You'll always be the victim."
"SHUT UP!" I screamed at the top of my lungs at the voice, which caused the chattering girls on the other side of the stall, to giggle and begin whispering their conversation as they left the bathroom. The voice, however, seemed to appreciate my desperateness.
"You know it's true."
That is IT. I was absolutely done with this, I AM going to grow up and face my fears. I stood, slung my backpack over my shoulder and positioned myself in front of the stall door, working up the courage to leave. 'You'll be ok. You're strong. You can handle this.' I told myself. With one deep breath, I flung open the door.
The bathroom was empty. There were no monsters hiding in the corners waiting to gobble me up as soon as I appeared; everything was normal and bearable. I was filled with a newfound certainty and triumph. 'I can do this,' I strutted over to the actual bathroom door and smirked smugly as I placed my hand on the door handle which really did lead to the rest of the world, or school at least. Taking another deep breath, I slowly began pressing down on the handle, opening the door. "I will be ok," I whispered aloud to myself, opening the door fully, leaving behind all protection in which I had in the bathroom
The school was as it always was, dimly lit with a few teenagers floating through the hallways, trying to avoid class.
The only difference in today was the average-looking boy standing directly in front of the door to the girl's bathroom on the second floor for about an hour, anticipating it's opening. No one walking past questioned his odd location because, frankly, no one really cared about the average-looking boy or where he stood.
The door did finally open and a large grin creeped over the boy's face at seeing the reason for his patience emerge from the bathroom.
"I've been waiting for you," he said, seeming very self-satisfied.