Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Bathroom Door


I sat in a diner, eating lunch. I have a view of the door to the women's bathroom, though it does not catch my eye until the door handle moves. It shakes twices, pauses, and then spins and faces down. The door, however, stays closed.
A moment later the door bursts and opens about a quarter of an inch. A tiny hand slaps the edge of the door at just under knee height and the right edge of a blue dress appears in the narrow gap. A small child plants her right side, thigh to shoulder, against the edge of the door and tugs with one. It looks like her left side is pressed similarly against the wall as she pushes with all her might.
Slowly, in fits and starts, her herculean effort pries the door open inch by painstaking inch. At three inches I can see the matching pink ribbon on the side of her light brown head through the crack. At about seven inches she moves one hand from the door handle to the inside wall, losing two inches in the process.
Finally, with no more than a nine inch gap, she quickly squeezes through. Her momentum takes her a few steps where she lands bent over, hands on her knees, breathing heavily. The door closes with excruciating sloth, the gap closing no more quickly than it had opened.
She caught her breath in the heartbeat after realizing that her heroism had gone unnoticed and did a half-skip back to her table and family.

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