I see the big sign and breathe. Because I'm close. I step up my step.
But wait. Why is there a teenage boy blocking the door? He's doing the
"Stop" thing with his hand.
"I HAVE to clean!" He says to me, without catching my eye. He doesn't
even smile. I do, though. Because I KNOW he's SO embarrassed he CAN'T
smile. Poor kid. I try to make it easier by not complaining. I walk
away, but I don't go far. Just up into the cereal aisle, where I can
see him leave when he's finished.
But he doesn't leave, and soon there's a line, well, just two others,
a teenage girl and an older women, maybe in her 70s, with a walker. I
know where there are two, there are two more. So I leave the cereal
boxes and go to stand in line.
Women become fast friends in familiar circumstances. And the three of
us become buddies immediately because the teenage boy is taking too
much time to clean.
The lady with the walker (she's second in line) says to the teen
(who's first in line), "Use the Men's room, it's empty."
The teen looks dubious.
I take the cue and say, "I'll watch the door. No one will come in."
She decides in an instant and scurries in.
"Reminds me of when I was in junior high," I say to the walker woman
as I block the door. "That's when I saw my first urinal."
The older woman smiles: "We have to pass the tradition on."
The teens finish as the same time, and both exit the bathrooms in
unison, he from the Women's room and she from the Men's.
They pass in the hall.
I say to the boy, "She couldn't wait."
That's when he finally smiled.