The beige linoleum tiles gave way to pearly white as he opened the door to the men’s room. He noted how his body seemed to know it was getting closer to its destination, which didn’t help since he’d been suppressing a full bladder for over an hour. That wait was bad, but now that he was actually here, it was unbearable. Like a balloon filled to bursting, his insides screamed for release.
He reached for his belt as he rounded the corner in the restroom, pain greeting his abdomen in a swelling stab. Adam looked up into the small, unfamiliar restroom and stopped.
There in front of the urinals were two men. The stood not two feet from the closest urinal, and since there were only three in here, there was little room to maneuver. The men were hugging.
One of them was shorter than the other and both wore blue jeans. The taller of the two had on a conservative blue button down, but the shorter wore a colorful short. Adam was frozen in place for the second it took for the men to stop hugging. The men looked up at Adam and smiled two embarrassed smiles before walking over to the sinks just across the way and began to wash their hands.
Adam began to wonder what they were doing in here. He became conscious of himself alone in here with these two men. Has far as he knew, he had never met a gay before and didn’t expect to meet two of them hugging in the men’s room. The urinals seemed inappropriate suddenly, vulnerable and revealing to use, so he changed direction to use the stall just behind him. He pushed on the stall door but it didn’t budge. He pushed on it again lightly before noticing a white computer paper scotch taped to the front of it.
Out of Order.
He turned back to the urinals, glancing sidelong at the sinks. The men were washing their hands, but he didn’t think they were doing it as fast as most guys do. He wondered if they were waiting and what they were waiting for. He tried again to see if the out of order stall could be entered, but the small metal latch had been flipped over. Adam recollected the dozens of public restrooms he had visited where those latches had been broken or missing. Even if they hadn’t been, they seemed of little help in keeping the door closed much less from someone entering accidentally. Now, here he was, on the other side of that door and of all the bathrooms that would actually have a working latch, this one did and it worked. Not only did the latch work, but the toilet behind it didn’t, almost as if it had been planned.
He glanced to the floor, trying to think quickly amidst the pressing stabs of pain from his bladder. The floor wasn’t so clean, the small spaces filled with dirt. Adam stared at the tile to give himself something to focus on, it seemed tinged with yellow and wasn’t quite as white as he thought it was. The men seemed to be loitering. The got a bit closer to each other, talking in what looked to be an intimate whisper.
Nature overruled his fears and demanded his immediate attention. He walked to the furthest urinal and began to unzip his pants. His ears strained for any hint of conversation. His senses extended beyond himself to take in everything he could without craning his head around. The last thing he needed was one of those fags thinking he was interested in them while his pants were unzipped. He stepped as close as he close as he could to the urinal and tightened his stomach muscles to force the pee out. The less time spent here the better he thought. But it was still taking too long. He had practically mounted the urinal, his arms now covering the gaps between his body and the porcelain.
The chemical scent of tropical flowers mixed with urine wafted up from the urinal cake and he could feel the slight splash of urine on his hands and penis as the stream of piss splashed onto the rubber cake mat inches from him.
This all seemed preferable to what Adam imagined might happen if one of those guys saw his penis. The thought that the might fantasize about him sickened him even as he felt the pain subside as his bladder emptied. Behind him and none too soon he heard the men laugh quietly to each other before leaving the restroom.
Adam immediately relaxed and the pressure in his chest left just as it had in his loins. He zipped up his pants and moved to flush, but his hand pulled up short.
What if one of those gay guys had used this urinal, he thought to himself. He didn’t want to touch the handle of the urinal, and in fact began to feel dirty just from having used it. It’s not like he though being a fag was contagious, but he wondered if maybe they had touched each other before using the bathroom; maybe their hands weren’t so clean.
He left the urinal unflushed and washed his hands at an unused sink. He washed his hands with hot water and plenty of soap, reciting his ABC’s as he did so to keep track of the time he was washing. He had learned that in school as a kid and it was the best way to make sure you killed the germs.
He dried his hands with a paper towel and walked quickly from the bathroom. Outside, the two men stood with an older couple and two young men, the group was smiling to each other and each man was holding hands with one of the young women.
The taller of the two spoke up, “Ok, let’s go celebrate my little brother being a daddy soon!”
Relief washed over Adam as he realized the whole situation. He stopped short and just took in the men and their respective women, smiling as he did so.
The men saw him standing there in front of the bathroom door and smiling at them. With a sudden change of demeanor, the taller man mentioned leaving, turning away and leading the group into the restaurant. He leaned in close to his brother and whispered something into his ear and both men glanced back, disgusted looks on their faces as they observed him still standing there smiling despite himself at the pleasure of not having actually been in a bathroom with gays.
That the guys were giving his backward unfriendly glances still as they walked away, and he realized he was still smiling at them. Adam suddenly realized these guys probably though he was gay! His smile dropped and his mouth opened and closed a minute, as his brain tried to catch up. He hated the thought of these guys judging him for being a fag, and thought to catch up and explain it, but couldn’t even begin to think how he would explain why he was smiling.
With an embarrassed flush to his cheeks, feeling their judgement unjust and wishing he could explain, He walked quickly from the restaurant. He couldn’t eat here now, not with a whole family eating there who thought he was gay.