If you’re a lady, you probably know the drill quite well. Hovering over the toilet seat, willing yourself to just pee already–because isn’t it the hardest when you have to?–aiming your urine stream towards the absorbent part of the pregnancy test, trying not to get pee on your hands.
It was October 24, and I was killing time before my Monday night hoop class, hanging out at Bonnie Doone mall, trying to urinate on a stick in the ladies’ washroom. I had been taking other tests all weekend, and they were frustratingly inconclusive: not quite positive and yet not quite negative.
After much inner coaxing, I had finally relaxed enough to begin the ‘diagnostic process’ when a woman, accompanied by a little boy, stormed into the stall next to me, forced the boy into the stall with her, and slammed the door.
“I am horrified at your behaviour,” she said. “I take you out for a nice supper and this is how you repay me?” It went on in this fashion for a couple of minutes as she spewed threats about what was coming if he repeated whatever actions sent him into the bathroom with his mother in the first place.
The boy answered in unintelligible murmurs.
“Stand in the corner,” the woman demanded. “DO IT!”
She moved the little body into the corner of the stall and made him stand there, facing away from her, as she loudly urinated. I could see the grey laces on his little shoes as they peeked out from under the other stall. Meanwhile, I was frozen in my position above the toilet seat, stricken with a new, strong bout of pee anxiety.
I don’t know how I managed to do the deed while this awkward scene was unfolding, but somehow my need to know if I would somehow become this woman outweighed the strength of the clenched muscles that prevented the procedure.
The result line appeared before the control line did, in a much shorter timeframe than the box suggested. Pregnant. Absolutely freakin’ knocked up. I blinked, then shoved the test back in the box immediately.
I left the stall in a daze. While I was washing my hands, the woman and little boy emerged from the stall beside me.
“Make sure your hands are clean, sweetie,” she said in a singsong voice, all traces of the venomous mother gone from her voice.
I finished up and hurried out of the bathroom, away from this frightening glimpse of my future should I also become a bathroom-stall-lecturing mother. I walked past the ghetto dollar stores and the creepy men on the benches, dodging clumps of teenagers yet seeing nothing in front of me but two lines on a pregnancy test and a chastised boy’s grey shoelaces.