In the Boys’ Bathroom: Slice of Life 4/31 #sol17

slice of life

He leaves the game with his hands cupped over his nose.

“Are you going, or should I?” my husband asks.

“I’ll go,” I say.

By the time I follow my son into the boys’ bathroom, blood is everywhere. Spattered on the floor and sink like an abstract painting. Running down his hands and arms. It’s in his teeth, under his nails. He’s got two thin paper towels pressed to his nose, and they’re soaked.

But he can’t think about that because his mom just walked into the boys’ bathroom.

“Mom!” he hisses. “This is the boys’ bathroom! There are urinals!”

As if a urinal would stop me.

“Let’s change those out,” I say.

The paper towels are so stiff, I feel like I’m handing him copy paper to stop his nose bleed. I switch out the towels twice, three times, four. The blood soaks through in seconds. So much blood. While he bends over the bloody sink and presses paper towels to his nose, I try to contain the spread of red. It’s all over his uniform, but by some miracle of cheap fabric, it wipes right off.

Two little boys open the bathroom door and step in, then quickly step out. The door closes.

“Mom!” he hisses. “You’re scaring little kids!”

The door opens again and the older of the two boys peeks inside.

“It’s okay,” I reassure him. “Just a mom here. Momming.”

“Come on in, buddy,” my son says. He glares at me in the mirror, but I pretend not to see.

The two boys step inside and sequester themselves in the one stall with a door.

An elderly man opens the door, then quickly closes it. In a moment, the door opens again and he steps tentatively inside.

“I didn’t know if I was in the right place,” he says.

“Oh yes,” I say. “We’ve got a nosebleed. I’m just momming here.”

“Oh my god,” my son moans.

The elderly man waits for the two boys to leave the stall. They run out of the bathroom without washing their hands.

A teenager comes inside and doesn’t even blink to see me standing there wiping blood off the floor. He walks right over to the urinal behind me and unzips his pants. I want to catch my son’s eye and share a giggle, but I know it will have to wait until later.

“This is so inappropriate,” my son mutters under his breath.

“He doesn’t seem to care,” I point out.

The teenager doesn’t wash his hands either.



35 responses to “In the Boys’ Bathroom: Slice of Life 4/31 #sol17”

  1. I loved this! Having a good chuckle to myself. I guess it’s a mom’s job to embarrass her son, just as it’s a dad’s job to embarrass his daughter (my lot in life). I am definitely going to adopt the term “momming”. What a wonderfully captured moment!

  2. Well, if that isn’t a SLICE! I’m imagining that entire story happening within the timespan of about 10 minutes and you captured every detail. I could feel your son’s horror at you being in there with him (and I laughed) because that’s what moms do. We roll up our sleeves and we get to work. You did a great job momming here and an even better job of recording the memory. 🙂

    • I think the whole story took less than 3 minutes, and the writing of it was very fast too, which is unusual for me. I sat and wrote it during halftime of a basketball game! I was wandering around between games, complaining to my husband about how I couldn’t find a slice no matter how hard I tried. And then I thought, Fool! Write the nose bleed!

  3. This was an amazing piece of writing. I can my family experiencing the exact same thing. Love the part about the teenager, I’m pretty sure mine would be totally unaware that anyone else was in the bathroom.

  4. This story is so well written! I am in total awe of you not only for braving a public boys’ restroom (I sometimes don’t want to go into my own boys’ bathroom at home) but for dealing so calmly with all the blood. Definitely an example of excellent momming!

  5. Moms will continue on no matter what, Elisabeth. Very funny & I’m glad you went to help. I guess you’ll be talking about this for a while with your son.

  6. I love the line “as if a urinal would stop me” and your responses to your son and the visitors about your need to be there in the boys’ bathroom. The setting is truly memorable! And, I enjoyed this unique visit to the boys’ bathroom.

  7. Okay. Things I am wondering now – was it your presence or do these guys ever wash their hands? Love all of this. Momming. Your son’s irritation – “so inappropriate” All of it.

    • You have a good point! There were 4 sinks, but perhaps the bloody one was just really REALLY off-putting! I seriously wanted to tell the little boys and the teen to wash their hands, but I decided extreme momming should extend to only my own child in this circumstance.

  8. This is hilarious! Can so identify! Well done! And I love the commentary on hand washing, in the middle of all that blood and embarrassment!

  9. wow, that is a great story. I could feel his young ego wilting with embarrassment and your calm and loving determination to get that nosebleed cleaned up!

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