Burrowing
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Burrowing

 Kathleen Radigan
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 Kathleen Radigan
Burrowing
by Kathleen Radigan  FollowFollow
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Kathleen is Radigan is sixteen years old. She writes about everyone she knows, but don't tell them. She is fascinated by words, the world and...read more all of its inhabitants.
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Burrowing
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I can hear someone peeing. I unwrap my sandwich. I'm trying not to smell anything and to think about the answers to questions I've heard all day like “Hey what's up? How's it going?”

Every time someone talks to me here I feel a spark of victory. It's hard talking to new people. That person is washing their hands now. I heard no flush. Suspicious. I could spend every lunch as the Bathroom Police, hiding in this handicapped stall then jumping out and attacking people with laser guns when they fail to flush the toilet. Honestly, that would be preferable to sitting with politely friendly strangers and answering questions like “how d'you like it here? wow you look different since I last saw you!” No shit, Sherlock. In fifth grade I still thought cat sweaters and whale pants were flattering. I wore basically anything with colorful animal prints. Sequins were best, sequined turtles.

I wish I was a turtle.

Burrowing into a shell of warm thick scented sweetness. This bathroom stall has completely redefined 'sweetness'.

I'm starting to feel bad for people like Greasy Silent Kid and The Cryptkeeper and Squirrel Girl, for anyone who has ever had to eat lunch in a bathroom due to lack of someones, or anyone who's ever had the urge to. A few people here have been so incredibly nice to me, and yet I miss my someones. I miss the old familiar order of things and assemblies about sneezing into your elbow that were doomed to hours of mockery. I miss mocking things. Here I am so polite. I have no stinger, like a hornet stings once then dies.

If you were a hornet, would you wait carefully for The One? The One to give your only sting, your whole life? It's like losing your virginity. I wonder if hornets think at all.

I can't eat anymore. The scummy scraps of toilet paper decoupaging the floor are starting to trigger my gag reflex. I wonder how Greasy Silent Kid and The Cryptkeeper and Squirrel Girl do this, moving robotically through every day without anyone to turn to and say funny things and look at when teachers yell “partner up!” If they're lonely, whether it's been dulled by years of sitting with backs pressed to tiled walls, popping goldfish like Valium and feeling nauseous, dehydrated achy and tired tired tired.

I think about all human loneliness, and now someone else is peeing. Two girls are talking about how boring a class is, and I'm envying them because they're talking so comfortably, like pajama pants with the insides worn in. My throat is dry from silence. But worse than silence is politeness.

I am not going out there.

I hear the clunk of the paper towel dispenser, and the girls are leaving, swinging the doors behind them, and I hear their voices floating farther and farther away. I'm here in my shell, a little sequined turtle, where no one can ever assault me with politeness.

Also by Kathleen Radigan

2 comments

Discussion

  9 months ago
Courageous
  21 months ago
Ah. Lunch in the toilet stall. Who among us can admit to having done that at least once. ...Actuslly, I'd be curious to know what the stats are on that.
 

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