I’m Sorry My Son FaceTimed You from a Bathroom Stall in Target

Truly, I am sorry. I hope you were not in a meeting with your CEO or describing your bowels to the internist or standing still on one foot, clutching your prayer beads, as the scorpion backed away. I hope you were not, with great anticipation of all the feels, consummating your marriage or defending your dissertation. I hope you were not having your gallbladder removed, your weave put in, your lip waxed, or your tattoo of baby Jesus enhanced with a circle of baby prophets surrounding Him, drinking milk. I hope your father wasn’t purchasing half a cow and, subsequently, purchasing a freezer to host the dead cow and its parts. I hope it wasn’t his way of naturally curing your anemia.

I hope you weren’t involved in any activity, including non-activity, such as meditation or Netflix, when Tophs called you, because he only wanted to show you his forehead, along with the top third of his eyes, and say, “CHEESE! CHEESE! CHEESE!”

As sorry as I am that you had interrupt your day to press “Ignore” and feel the guilt of declining what may have been an emergency call from a heroic toddler trying to save his mother from the grips of a shark or venti Frappuccino—as sorry that makes me feel, I feel even more relieved.

I am relieved that you didn’t accept the call. The mental carnage would have been too much. You would have witnessed The Carnival of the Animals performed to the tune of Dance Macabre.

You would have witnessed me, hovering over a toilet, concentrating my pee—which has had a mind of its own ever since two children galloped from my loins—into a strong vector. I’ve always had an irrational fear of public toilets, so my self-esteem and sanity hinge on the strength of my squat, the precision of my aim. A good day starts with a dry thigh.

Above my knees, my Monday underwear would’ve hung, which look just like my Tuesday through Sunday underwear, which are what fisherman hang from the sides of their boats when their nets have torn.

“No! Stop! Don’t touch!” you’d have heard me scream, as Tophs ran his hand along the sticky floor or caressed the side of the toilet like it was a blind, sickly kitten.

If I’d missed the can at all, even by one rogue drop, you would’ve heard Elie say, “Mommy, there’s pee pee on the seat! Wipe it off!” And she would have repeated this, even as I said, “OK,” and even as I said, “OK, I’m going to,” and even as I said, “Good Lord, child! Allow me to pull up my lady cottons gently, for two rips from excessive wear are acceptable, but if I get a third, then I’ll have to send these to the cobbler for repair.”

“Mommy,” she’d start again, and I’d have said, “Eliot, be quiet or I’m not going to buy you a soft pretzel.” And, in an instant, I’d have devolved into a mother worthy of my own TLC show. This might have ruined our friendship. Or artificially enhanced it if you have your own reality show dreams. Either way, I’m so sorry, relieved, and, thankfully, dry.



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