The party took a turn when I was in the shower. Steam clouded the entire bathroom. I was waiting. It was taking its time tonight. A heavy thumping on the door makes me jump every time. Three times: THUMP pause THUMP pause THUMP! Silence. I thought it wouldn’t happen tonight. I was wrong. My eyes jerked to the curtain with the first THUMP. The second THUMP and my stomach falls to my ankles. My heart skips a beat while my testicles disappear with the third THUMP. The sound of the water beating down drowned out. Rain without sound. That rain was now scalding my skin. That damn noise!
It always takes a few moments for my breathing to get close to normal. I took hold of the shower curtain, hoping to catch a glimpse of the noisemaker. On the other hand, I wished I never caught that glimpse. No matter what, this had to stop, especially tonight. I peeked.
Like every time before, nothing was out of place. The Medicine cabinet was in one piece, its mirror fogged over but whole. Same with the pictures on the walls. Nothing had exploded out of the toilet, to my relief. I pulled on the towel rack. The best epoxy mortar firmly held it tight. Nothing was out of place. Again.
I’d had enough. Too many nights to count. Way too much fear.
On the balls of my feet, I inched over to the door, only to fling it open with an “AHA!” like I’ve done every night it’s happened. This night there was something beyond the door, in the hallway. My yell turned into a combo “AhaaaaAhhhhhOoooo,” ending with a yelp. Jan and Patty were just outside in the tight corridor. Jan had one hand over her mouth with the other pointing at my, ahem, sacred space. Of course, she was laughing. Patty’s hand flew to her heart, at first. Then the grin slowly built up her wattage. They were both laughing tears together by this point. Patty tried to bring Jan’s pointer finger hand down, but that brought the two of them to extreme giggling.
“We need the bathroom, Davey.” Jan knew I hated that. David. I’m David.
“Um..uh…,” Patty started. “Everyone is waiting for you. You know. Downstairs. It’s your…” and then she cut off with fire rising in her cheeks that spread to the rest of her face. She was still looking. I hadn’t done anything to cover myself or hide. Hiding was always a good option.
“It’s your frigging Birthday, you nimnut.” She pointed at David’s descending pair. “Make that nimnuts.” Jan’s smile combined a shit-eating grin with that of the cat that got the canary. I started to yell at her. Mid rant, she clutched my arm, pulling me out of the bathroom. The click bounced in the hallway as Jan locked the door behind her.
Patty stood there, admiring the newly waxed parquet floors. Water was dripping off of me. I sighed. Patty giggled. I had to sidle past her. I was sucking my gut in, squeezing past Patty. As I made it to my bedroom, I heard Patty’s giggle morph into a heavy sigh as I closed the bedroom door. I think she wanted me to hear that.
Drying myself was pretty much-taken care of by then. I threw on my clothes, gelled my hair, and opened my door. I left the room, expecting to see Patty still in place outside of the bathroom.
Nope. Jan. Of course, she noticed my instant let down hound dog look. I thought I was quick to control it, but again, nope. Jan knew me too well, growing up together, one year apart. My sister was a royal pain most of the time; tonight, she wanted to be one.
“Aw, Davey, little Patty’s gone for a tinkle. Or she’s hiding. Probably both.” Jan leaned in close. “Psst…Patty knows you like her.”
“What are we? Twelve?” I shouldn’t have answered her. I should know better by now.
“Davey wants to kiss Patty. Davey wants to…”
I lightly stamped on her foot. I moved back out of reach.
“YOU SHIT!” was loud enough to quell some of the noise from downstairs. Jan took the stairs with an “ouch ouch” here and an “ouch ouch” there. I could tell she made it in one piece. Everyone yelled, “Jan’s back!” The noise from the party ratcheted up.
The bathroom door unlocked. Patty joined me in the hall, closing the door behind her. I noticed the shower was off. One of them had to have done that because I forgot to.
Patty looked at me, her cheeks still pink.
“David, I’m sorry. We shouldn’t have…”
“It’s over, Pat. Let it die. Jan is Jan. You know that as well as me.”
Suddenly, three heavy thumps pounded on the other side of the bathroom door.
THUMP pause THUMP pause THUMP!!
The doorknob began to turn.