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female Just Another Drizzling Thursday Afternoon


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I wondered what the problem was; I mulled over this thought in the same way I contemplated the pressure in my bladder, as if it were some distant concept instead of an actual issue I needed to worry about. Desperation, as far as I knew, was not a “normal” sensation, hence there must have been a problem since I was feeling that way.

The question, then, is what the problem was. It was drizzling outside, but that should not have been a problem, as it was the last lesson on a Thursday afternoon, and after that I would be free. Psychology should not be the problem either; it was not exactly my favourite subject, yet it was a discipline I did enjoy. No, something else must be stopping me from relieving myself.

I knew I should have planned better, but I was a terrible planner, as one could tell from my unintelligible notes and messy folders. It had been a humid day, no sunlight but the temperature was bringing out enough sweat from you to remind you that late spring, or early summer, was there after all. I had been keeping myself hydrated and had not bothered to use the toilet, or indeed do anything at all, the entire afternoon. My bodily functions were secondary to me these days, as my thoughts were on somewhere else, constantly, a nagging sensation no less distracting than my aching bladder at the moment.

“......And if you don’t start practicing planning your essay now,” his voice came from the front of the classroom, “I guess you’re gonna pay the price when you sit the exam less than two months from now.”

I recrossed my legs and shifted in my seat for the umpteenth time. Guess I’m paying the price now, I thought. It had started as a moderate need to use the toilet when class started, only to increase steadily as time crawled forward, as the pressure gradually built up to a level that was enough to distract me from what he was saying - the last thing I wanted.

Letting out a little sigh I made an almost physical effort to pay attention to the lesson. I hated the fact that I was desperate in his lesson; I resented it, in fact. Not that I had always been the kind of no-nonsense diligent student who work their ass off; one simple fact was that I had not done my Psychology homework yesterday, and he had already told me off earlier in the lesson when he was walking around the classroom checking our work. I glanced at his figure again, and bit my lip hard. He would not be here for long. We all knew. We all knew after the news leaked that he, one of the most popular teachers at our school, would be moving on to pastures new after the school year was over. Well, the school year was not far from over, and here I was, letting a lesson of his slip into the dark unfathomed realm of desperation.

That stupid mind of mine was still trying to work out what the problem was, though. A drop of sweat fell onto my Psychology textbook and I realised that my forehead was covered with tiny beads of sweat; I was definitely at a stage where I would have asked to use the toilet had it been any other teacher’s lesson. I did not, though, and I wondered why. Although I enjoyed Psychology it was not exactly my favourite subject, and although I admired and appreciated him a lot, I did not have what people call a “crush” on him (as I did on another teacher; that was another story though). Something was stopping me from raising my hand, and god knows what the heck it was.

He made a funny comment on something, and the class roared with laughter. I managed to use their mirth as a form of protective fog I was able to retreat into and regurgitate on memories, memories that seemed to flood my mind as urine flooded my bladder. I once sat beside him, early in the morning, on the bench next to the pond in the schoolyard, squirming uncomfortably for completely different reasons. He was one of the few people at school that found out my mental health issues, and decided to take the time that morning to talk about it with me and tell me that he had seen my potential. It took me by surprise. Utterly. I sat in his classroom three times a week and never really greeted him when I met him on the corridors, and had never expected him to pay attention to such an average, even slightly below average, student. When we ended the conversation he was smiling, the same warm smile on his face when he said something funny in a lesson or said “well done” to you after a test.

And now he was leaving. My need to use the toilet pulled me back to reality. Leaving for the Philippines, I had heard - a country I knew as much about as I knew about quantum physics. I never was a hardworking student, and now I wanted to bang my head against the wall for every time I messed around in his lesson. I hated to be desperate at the moment because I wanted all my attention on the lesson, on Psychology, on him. I stubbornly refused to ask for permission because I did not wish to leave the classroom, no matter how loudly the lower half of my body was screaming at me to do so. What a paradox. I actually laughed a little as I worked the problem out, or thought I did.

It suddenly came to me how quiet the class was; it turned out that he had put up a question on the board for the class to work on. I stole a quick glance around the room, made sure no one was watching, before hesitantly raising my hand. He walked towards me and asked what I needed, his voice gentle as ever, or as before, since there would not be a future.

“Sir can I go to the toilet please?”

I heard him say something about not having done my homework the previous day. I swallowed hard.

“I......I didn’t do my homework yesterday because I’m on some new medication and I slept for eleven hours straight last night. I’m sorry.”

He paused, and I thought I saw him swallow as hard as I did. “Yeah you may go. Be quick.”

I stood up and rushed out. It was still drizzling, not hot, but not cool either; I felt myself leak a few drops into my panties not because of the chills the rain brought, but because of a surge of sheer lack of control. I got to the toilet, pulled down my pants, and as the torrent gushed out from my bladder, instead of the relief I was expecting, I felt calm. The kind of calmness that was powerful enough to engulf anything, even the relief of emptying a full bladder.

I sat there, long after my stream had died down. Yeah - I had at last found what the problem was. I chose to suffer because I was scared, scared to voluntarily end something because I had been too engrossed in the anguish I felt from endings that were out of my control. But if ending something voluntarily marks the end of suffering, then why not - no matter it was relieving oneself or stopping oneself from being unable to let go of others and move on on one’s own. For a split second I felt like I could have burst into tears right there in the cubicle, but miraculously I did not.

I went back to the classroom. The door was closed. I knocked, and he opened the door. Before I slipped into my seat he tapped my shoulder and whispered to me: “Next time if you need special consideration for your homework just let me know - it’s alright.”

“Thank you.” I muttered.

Shortly afterwards class was over. I did not bother to pack my Psychology textbook into my bag, held it close to my chest, before putting on my earphones. Still was the rain falling; it was just another drizzling Thursday afternoon, one day in the life of mine and him, of ends and beginnings. As I walked past the toilets I realised that the song in my earphones was one of my favourites, “Remember Your Smile” by Enya, and it had just reached its final lines:

“Each one has a journey,

That’s how it goes.

Sometimes we’re together,

Sometimes alone.”

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