Bathroom Under the Stairs

Are you comfortable in front of people, or does the idea of public speaking make you want to hide in the bathroom? Why?

Source: Naked with Black Socks

“Carrie? Where is she?”

“Carrie? You’re going to be late!”

Trevor was busy going in and out of every room inside the house. Mostly because he was looking for food… or water, to be exact. But of course, he came across something else. Or rather, someone else.

“Oh, hi, Trevor,” said Carrie, hiding in bathroom under the stairs, “come quickly. I don’t want Mum or Dad to find me.”

Trevor was, of course, overly excited when he saw Carrie that he forgot his quest for refreshments. She gives the best belly rubs.

“I guess Mum and Dad are still looking for me outside considering you can actually sneak in here. You shouldn’t drink from the toilet, you know,” she took the bull terrier to her lap as she rubs his nape and cheeks. Trevor was just wagging his tail enthusiastically.

“Stay still, okay? I can’t be found. I am not ready for this stupid speech thing,” she whispered. Trevor rolled on the floor asking for a belly rub because obviously it’s the best thing ever. And he got nothing to lose.

“Alright, you silly dog,” she starts rubbing his tummy as she sighed for a bit, “always managed to get the best of me. You’re just like Mr. Johnson at school. Always signing me up for all this petty competitions. ‘It’d be good for your own record in the future’, he says. ‘It’s a shame not to use your talents’, he says. ‘Take this opportunity to practice and build your confidence’, and all that.”

“While what he wants is for the school to gain more recognition. Like I don’t know that because I’m too ‘young’. What the heck.”

Silent ensues as Trevor is still enjoying his belly rub. Suddenly he sat up, looking at Carrie intently. She pats his head again.

“I just wanted a break. It’s not like I turned down the offer firsthand. I tried, you see. But I am just not a flawless public speaker. I got anxious and both him and my parents think this is a good exposure therapy ‘for my nerves’. They thought I was ‘just nervous’ and I will eventually wing it. Well, it doesn’t! Don’t they see how expressionless and fidgety I became whenever I need to do this thing? What about that incident when I need to walk off in shame not finishing the speech? What about that other time I forgot the term for “flora and fauna” and just call it “plants and animals” repetitively? And mostly I’m just out of it every time I need to be on stage; reciting something in memory which people would eventually forget and I myself don’t see as important. Why, it’s almost as if it’s a freaking beauty pageant! But with a little brain work involved. Weirdly enough, or maybe not, they would remember whenever I slip off certain words or say something stupid. Or at least I would. And it doesn’t help with the ‘nerves’.”

“See, I don’t give a damn about this whole thing from the start. They say that I should at least give it a try. And I did. Now I just don’t enjoy doing it anymore. With the increasingly ridiculous interval from one competition to another, I don’t think it’s too much to say that my suspicion was true. And that I feel more pressured to ‘win’ because they think I have had ‘enough practice and experience’. I don’t want to win. I don’t even want to do this anymore.”

Trevor tilts his head, seemingly to inquire something from Carrie, to which she responds, “I tried, okay. I tried telling Mr. Johnson that I am not signing up for this contest because I needed a break. I mean, shouldn’t he be concerned with the primary schoolwork I need to do? Instead, he dismissed it lightly, saying he can make a few arrangements so I can hand it later. I don’t want that! Other students have been giving me the looks, saying I have been ‘treated special’ and am enjoying it to bits. I don’t! I don’t want special treatment! I just want to be… ‘normal’. Ugh, now I sound like those spoiled high school brats on TV Lorraine always watches.”

Trevor is confused what Lorraine, Carrie’s high school sophomore older sister, has got to do with this thing Carrie is telling him, which he also does not understand.

“And I’m pouring my heart out to a dog. Great, how cliche could this be? I hate Lorraine’s TV shows and actual high school drama and I am enacting it too well.” She face-palmed herself, which is something Trevor thinks he would not like to do to himself.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have even spoken a word in that English class on the first place…”

Carrie closed her eyes and exhaled loudly again. As she opened them again, she saw Trevor’s ears perked alertly as he sniffed towards the door. Carrie looked at him puzzled.

“Right, why is it eeriely too silent now, though? Oh…”

As light shone upon the dim-lit room, Carrie’s Dad peeked into the room and Trevor barked happily at him. Carrie forgot that Trevor is some sort of ‘Dad magnet’, or is it the other way round? Nevermind, she’s doomed to go to the speech contest now, embarrassing herself with her antiques whenever she got too tense; stuttering, having shaky hands, voice-trembling… name it.

Dad went in the bathroom silently. He crouched in front of her and said, “So… should we tell Mr. Johnson you can’t make it today? Diarrhea will do.”

He smiled and that made her smile back as she nodded.

“Don’t be too happy, though. We got lots to talk about. Now, let’s find your Mum to start,” he stood up and offered her a hand. She took it gladly.

“Come on, Trevor! Don’t drink from the toilet!” he called.

Trevor whimpered a little, but followed them out of the bathroom anyway. He can’t understand Carrie, or Dad, or anyone in the house, really. Why can’t he drink water when it’s provided there already?


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