Friday, May 8, 2009

Only in a restroom in Cusseta, Alabama.

Writers see the world... differently.
It looks kind of like this:

Just as everyone you meet is a potential character and every conversation you hear may be stored away for later use. Having a writer as a friend can be dangerous, partying with fellow writers fills my well. (Hello Southampton friends!)
It is so nice when people "get you," when explanations are unnecessary and when you can experience truly witty parlay.

So, it will come as no surprise to my writing friends that I found a story in a restroom in Cusseta, Alabama last week.

Stopping for gas and potty break with 2 gal pals, I waited in the dimly lit white washed pine sol scented back hall for my friend to finish up in the "one seater." It seemed like an ordinary gas station/convenience mart, gas pumps, checkout counter in the round, coffee, energy drinks and steamed franks for the road.

And trust me there was nothing special about the ladies restroom. Single unlidded toilet, one sink, electric hand dryer mounted to wall, small waste basket...
All details I took in mid squat, until my eye was drawn to the small yellow bag littering the floor. First thought? Why didn't my friend who was just in here pick this up?
Then I noticed the receipt under my foot.
I finished my business then picked up both. The bag was from Dollar General. The receipt went with the bag.
First thought. Some lady was in a hurry for feminine hygiene products.
But no.

Receipt was for the Dollar General on Hwy 29. Store #10320.
Purchase: one Early Pregnancy Test Kit
tax .07
paid in cash

The plot thickens.

I'm seeing in my mind's eye the harried girl who ran in here, the first stop before she had to go home, before she had to return to school. The worried woman who filled up her car, then made her way to the restroom before she had to go home to the husband she's cheating on? The hopeful and excited single woman who hopes a one dollar test is just as good as the real thing because this might be the answer, this might change everything...

and then, you KNOW what I want to do.

I washed my hands, took my time with the dryer positioned over the full waste basket, watched as it blew the loose paper towels, saw it uncover the purple and white box, and something else beneath... and then I thought about what I would say to my friends- and I hesitated. I thought about what people would think about me if I ...
and I left.

Because as much as I wanted to reach in that trash can and find out if the pee stick said yes or no... I would rather never know, because now I'm able to write two different endings for two different women, a multitude of stories. (and seeing as I have this horrible problem with manipulating truths- I don't do it well- I don't have that ultimate statement standing in my way.)

Odder still, was that the 3rd girl in our group who was waiting in the hall for her turn in the ladies room was regaled by a story of confusion, sadness,and despair told by a woman who'd found this gas station by mistake. She'd left a divorce counseling session and was crying so much and was so upset that she had been driving in the wrong direction for miles.
It was a good thing she needed gas and a bathroom, she said, or she might have ended up in Florida.

Lordy. I love Alabama.
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