The building I now work in is structured so that women from various offices can use their lunch hours to put on their tennis shoes, tight stretch athletic pants and throw on the old “1994 Gardening To Live” shirt to power-walk in the circles. Coming out of a meeting that left me questioning whether or not the power-coffee for the morning was a good idea, both myself and a coworker power walked to get quickly to the same destination on the other side of the building.
“You too?” I asked with a laugh.
“Oh my, I was about to burst,” she said leaning against the bathroom door. “I was about to stand up and walk out because I couldn’t hold it anymore.”
I laughed and we walked in separate stalls.
Suddenly, I heard retching in the stall next to me and small, painful gasps. I see a black skater shoe with purples laces brace against the tile adjoining our two stalls. The first thought was simple – freshman, day two of first-time-alone campus life… Those Jäger bombs can really be a killer going back the other direction.
I finished and was washing my hands as the girl trudged out of the bathroom. She had short-blonde disheveled hair, dyed green a few spots, an oversize black sweater, black glasses, and a lip-piercing. She bent over to wash out her mouth and stood back up with a bit of a sway. She reminded me of me when I was 19 and I somehow felt a nostalgia.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
She blinked in surprise. “I had a kidney stone that passed last week and it’s really painful right now still.”
I did a bit of a motherly breath inhale, “Oh man, maybe you should go to the Health Center.”
She grimaced, “I’m on a whole bunch of medicines right now but it’s not helping.”
We move to the door and she says, “I’m even on an anti-nausea medicine, but I don’t think it’s helping.” She rubs her stomach slowly.
“Damn, irony is not fun,” I murmur.
I go left and she goes right. “Take care,” I added.
She calls out and I turn, “Hey…thanks for the concern.” Taken aback, I say, “…Of course.”
I briefly wonder then why this just isn’t common place and why you have to be thanked for it… but I still know exactly that it isn’t.