Our apartment doesn’t become available until three o’clock. Clarice lets us stay in hers until then because she doesn’t have any other tenants to rent it to.
Upon waking Musette and I both need to go to the bathroom. Musette is nervous though, because she doesn’t want to run into anybody.
She makes me go first.
The dog starts barking as soon as I open the door. Everyone suddenly knows I’m up and passing through the halls. Their shadows watch me from behind cabinet doors. The bones beneath the streets seep their ghosts through the floorboards, making an even larger audience for the event, turning the dormitory into a giant skull, with its dreams becoming an observation of my journey.
“This is the way hallways twist and flit.” Clarice says, as her room becomes connected to the bathroom.
She’s moving around talking to her dog.
“You be quiet now Mr. Geeves…”
She can hear me poop, loud and stinky.
I’ve been holding it in for so long.
Traveling wreaks havoc on my bowels.
There is a spray can of good scents next to the toilet.
“Thank you for saving my life.” I say to my guardian angel.
I spray a protective aura around me. The good scents cling to the bad ones, covering them like makeup. I flush the toilet, praying it doesn’t clog, which, thank goodness, it doesn’t. I cannot wash my hands because there is no sink in this part of the bathroom. I check my fingers for poop. Sometimes, when I wipe, my finger breaks through the toilet paper causing my fingertip to nakedly do the wiping.
There is no visible sign of mess. I smell my finger. It smells clean. The toilet paper is double ply and pink, much better than the stuff we have at home.
I make my way back to our room and give Musette a status report.
“All clear.” I say.
But she is still afraid to go.
“You have to do it. You have to go to the bathroom.”
Once she submits I pull a copy of Nausea from the shelf. It is in French. I can read some of it, but not very much. I make it my mission to find a copy of my own. I want one just like this.
When Musette returns she tells me she thought she started her period because she didn’t notice the toilet paper was pink until after she had finished wiping.
She sees the book I am reading and tells me to steal it. I tell her I would never do that, and put the book back on the shelf.