I was sharing a bed with my best friend.
We were crowded together, backs touching on a lumpy hotel mattress. She was peacefully sleeping, but I was restless. My eyes darted around the room, taking in the unflattering shag carpeting and the stained drapes that covered the window. My forehead was slick with sweat. It was summer, and apparently the motel we were staying at had no air conditioning.
“What a great deal,” my father had said as he booked the room, “I can’t believe all those other families are getting suckered out of their money, staying at all those fancy resorts!”
We were not the only people to come to that conclusion, as it turned out. The motel was filled with some pretty sketchy people. At all hours of the night, large groups of menacing looking men could be seen lounging in the lobby, talking in hushed mumbles and quickly exchanging things into each other’s hands. While I was extremely nervous entering what could very well be a cesspool of illegal activity, at the time, I didn’t have the heart to tell him that while those other hotels cost a bundle of cash, our chances of being murdered decreased significantly if we weren’t spending the night in a verifiable Guantanamo Bay. Not that it would have mattered: My father has never been one to turn down a bargain (See: Coffee debacle of 2012).
Anyway, I was laying on that lumpy mattress, wrought with fear over the fact hat any second now, the police were going to burst in through the front door of the motel.
“Put your hands in the air!” they’d say to me as they kicked down our room door.
“We haven’t done anything wrong!” I’d answer, silent tears streaming down my face. The police men would shake their heads dismissively and “tut tut” like a reproving school teacher. They would roughly pull me out of the bed. “Tell it to the judge, sister.” they’d say, and just like that I’d be doin’ 30 to life.
…Have I mentioned before that I’m a little neurotic?
So, I was tossing and turning on that terrible mattress, so full of exhaustion, yet too afraid to sleep. Also keeping me company that night was my agonizingly full bladder. I don’t talk about this often, but I sometimes like to challenge myself to use the restroom as little as possible. Like, I know I have to go, but I just…don’t. I pretty much only use the rest room once a day now. Twice, if it’s a rough day. It’s terrible. I’m terrible. If I was a character in a Shakespeare play, that would be my fatal flaw: The fact that ignore my body’s urge to use the bathroom for no reason. I would be some kind of queen, ruling a nation with an iron fist, and my servants would come into the room and be like, “It seems that the royal toilet is clogged once more, your grace.” And I’d be like, “That’s cool. I wasn’t gonna use it tonight anyway.” Then they’d say, “But all of us need to use it…” and I’d say, “Do I look like a plumber?” and then they’d plot to have me killed, and I wouldn’t be able to run away because my bladder would be too full. So I’d die.
The point is, I didn’t get up to pee.
As sleep slowly began to overtake me, I literally began to dream about peeing. I imagined getting out of the bed, walking to the bathroom, and freeing myself from the pain. It was such a vivid dream, in fact, that I started to believe: I allowed myself to begin peeing. While laying in bed. Next to my best friend.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt so free. That is, until a nanosecond later when I realized that I was peeing. While laying in bed. NEXT TO MY BEST FRIEND.
I stopped mid-pee, but the damage was already done.
“OH GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN MEEEE!” I shouted internally.
I quickly tried to pull the sheets out from under my friend without waking her, a task that soon proved to be impossible. She began to stir almost immediately.
“Kiana? What are you doing awa-”
“IT’S NOT WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE.”
It was what it looked like.