Monday, June 08, 2009

The Bathroom Incident

I knew I had to find the Ladies Room when I was at the grocery store across town. I thought the effort involved could be postponed until I arrived at the library. I knew exactly where they are located therefore no wandering around would be involved.

When I arrived, it was Code Red! I rushed into the large pink oasis of relief and flung myself into the first available stall. It was then I realized there was a ruckus going on down at the end.

A baby was crying pitifully. Wailing and hiccuping. It was painful to listen to. Added to that pain was the accompanying angry chatter that rode over the sobs.

"Stop it!"

"Be quiet!"

"Quit that crying!"

"It's nothing, look, it's nothing!"

The tone was harsh. The crying just continued and gained intensity. Her tone took on more force and I feared she was going to smack the child. I was feeling distraught and wanted out. Quickly. Sniffles and choppy breathing replaced the weeping. I wondered, knowing I had to be wrong, if the child was an infant. The pitch and rhythm sounded so much like a baby's.

I burst out of the stall thinking I wanted out so badly I would skip washing my hands. It was not so much the child's crying, but the unsympathetic tone and harshness of the woman's voice. There was another woman who had entered the bathroom and was washing her hands and I took the sink next to her and turned on the water. She tried to catch my eye. I avoided it looking for the towels to dry my hands when "She" came out of the last stall, she was very elegant looking, very beautiful, and yanked the paper towels from the container and began to run water over them and return to the still crying child. I turned to my left and had to lock eyes with the woman next to me. She tightened her mouth. I smiled at her, agreeing that I wanted to interfere with the scene playing out too, but felt it was not my place.

I went to the door to escape and another woman was entering and I stood back to allow her entrance. At that moment another woman came out of a stall, also witness to the wailing child incident, and rushed out the door practically knocking me aside, with out making any eye contact or apologies, skipping the hand watching ritual to break out!

It really was that heart breaking.

I returned the DVD at the opposite side of the room and was headed towards the door when She entered the library through the alarm door area. With no child! Oh, there he was, about 10 feet behind her!

He was a little tyke dressed in seersucker shorts with a little white button shirt. He was rubbing his eyes, a remarkably skinny child who looked exactly like Dill from the movie, To Kill A Mockingbird. Only a miniature.

She clearly was not his mother. A mother would not be in a public place ignoring her child, walking so far ahead of him, not holding his hand! They were of different races.

I thought to myself, "Is she the nanny?" That would explain the bathroom horror.

Just as I passed behind the child to exit, he said in a small voice, "I want to go to the Children's Room" and headed in the opposite direction of the woman.

I continued out the door and got in my car and laid my head on the steering wheel. I wish I had the nerve to give that woman a piece of my mind and give her hair a yank while I was at it.


Nelle said...

OH this is terrible. Once when my husband and I were dating we were in Rhode Island and a terrible husband and wife were screaming and berating their children in an inexpensive eating place. Finally when he began to use vile language (remember I am no prude) I could take no more. I walked over to him and said You may think you are embarassing your children but in fact, you are embarassing yourself. I went out to tell him that in the past few years I worked for an agency who assisted children with cancer. I told him that I had seen children suffer while the parents did everything to stop it and here he was inflicting suffering on his children by his choice. He was shocked. He didn't get angry but instead said I had given him something to think about. He quieted down, they had a peaceful meal and when they left he nodded at me. I'll never know if he really took it to heart but I just couldn't sit there and listen to it any longer. Before I had that experience with all the children I watched die, I probably wouldn't have said anything. You have to wonder is she might have been some social worker.

Lulu LaBonne said...

I can't bear seeing bad parents, how upsetting

Wendy said...

Oh how terrible. I wish you'd given her hair a yank, too!

bb mcclain said...

Poor child. My wife has intervened in child abuse in the past and it always comes back and bit her in the rear. She's glad she did it though.

Sadly, it seems rampant nowadays.