Don’t Enter this Room, Ladies!: A Memoir

Sinta Sintyaningsih

Every great journey begins with a trip to the bathroom ̶̶̶ Anonymus

Griya Plaza Sumedang always makes me smile and laugh. Not only because the freshness of aroma which was fondling my nose as I entered the front door. But, there was another thing that I really remember about, I called it “A Careless Incident”. It happened about eleven years ago. At that time while I was waiting my turn in Spelling Contest, I couldn’t fight for my feeling, sweat appearing on my face and forehead in a very high volume. My palms got sweaty and I could feel my bladder was not relaxed anymore. It was getting full and my brain told its muscle to squeeze so I directly hurried to the toilet. Honestly it was my first time went to Griya’s third floor toilet, and that was where the story began.

I opened the door and nobody that I could see. I thought the interior of the toilet was good enough with white-dominated colour and black-bold-stripe in the below section. I could see the washbasin in the left side, cubicles in the right one, and there were some things hung on the wall. They were white, square, and made me wondering about what it was. I felt I had seen it on television. I paid close attention to them, I approached and touched it. It seemed like someone had used that because I found there were water splash. Time stopped awhile, my brain was processing all the possibilities. While trying to solve my curiosity, treekkk, I heard someone tried to opened the toilet door. I decided to hide in one of the cubicles. While peeping from under the door, I saw brown shoes came over and stood in front of the washbasin. He was a man around thirty years old standing in the mirror to comb up his hair. My eyes felt like there’s a spear piercing thousands of times. My heart was beating so fast. Noticed that I was in the wrong place, I let the tap water sounded so big so it became my weapon to hide my sobs and relieved my cough. I almost forgot that my goal went to the toilet was to pee, so I peed in the middle of nervousness. The water was so cool so I just got shivered. Hoping that situation would be easier was what I did in the middle of stuck. Grey door was my key, my window too. I mean, all my decision was depending on that door, I continuously peeping from under the door to see whether I could go out. I wanted to run, but my knees were paralyzed enough even to stand up. I was afraid he would notice my existence.

There was new trouble, two men entered the toilet and came over my door cubicle, trying to knock the door and said “Is anybody there?”, but fortunately he entered the other cubicle while the other man stood up in front of the basin. I could hear their laughter while gossiping women, their cough, and one man’s sneezes before they went out of toilet. I closed my eyes, prayed full-heartedly, tried to calm myself.

As peeping from under the door again, the other man in grey entered and stood near my cubicle door. The air seemed slowly left me, I was stuck to there with my sweat even more than before. I desperately trying not to cry. He knocked at the door, twice. Oh damn! They would notice me, I thought. “Just try another one, dude! There’s no sound from there since I entered”, said a man with a bass voice. “Hmm I see.”, he replied. I felt like my breath got slower, perhaps claustrophobia, but I don’t know. I desperately trying to cry, but I still hold my tears as not to fall. I was so stupid enough to enter that room, but I could do nothing. I cried while water was overflowing in the bucket, so I could feel my slippers got wet. I wondered how to get out of the toilet, but I didn’t see how

After minutes I just felt the smell of the air became sharper with a man’s perfume. It made me want sneezing. I tried peeping again and I saw a boy in black jeans tidying up his hair and clothes. Light skin, tall, had muscular body, black hair with pomade. His smell was fresh enough to make me spirited. I wasted minutes to wait they did their business, then I was a little bit happy because they went out of toilet one by one. I took a deep breath and forced my body to stand up and opened the door.

As I touched the door leaf I heard someone opened the toilet door and walked in. I couldn’t bear crying. My tears flowing so fast. I was so desperate. I had thought to forced myself went out of the toilet, no matter what would happen. But my legs were limp, they asked me to not to go. Again, I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and calming myself. Suddenly my stomach had butterflies, perhaps because of my nervous. Okay, I thought I should have managed my nervous, I stayed there to defecate.

“Hahahaha. That’s fuckin funny” suddenly I heard a boy laughed while entering the toilet. “Oh my God!” I mumbling. I wondered whether he noticed my voice. When I tried to peep I saw two boys around my age. One of them entered the cubicle on my right side, the other one stood up in front of the white things hung on the wall. As I saw their face I knew that they were two of the contestants that I saw before in the contest. I really wanted to get out. I heard that they were talking about the contest we joined. I didn’t know how long I had cried. I wondered whether or not I was called in the contest, I just heard sounds of mic faintly called contestants’ name one by one. The air felt full with my sobs. I saw the lamp seemed darker, the door was like getting bigger so I hard to breath. Time flew so slow until the two boys out of toilet. I tried to calm myself with istighfar.

Minutes afterwards, they took turn out of the toilet: The two boys and someone in black shirt. They went out. Minutes by minutes passed me by. I could feel the air wider, I could breathe easily and finally I heard no man’s voice at all, no voice men anymore. Making sure that there was nobody there, I rushed went out of the toilet. In a hurry I leaned on the wall near the stairs. Finally, I arrived in the better place. Yes, I got out of the toilet. I could feel some fresh air brought oxygen to my lung. I could saw people walking around and stared at me in a confusion. I didn’t even care about it. I knew that’s one of the biggest mistake and stupidity I made in my life. But it’s okay, I will never forget that experience, the biggest foolish moment in my life. My struggling in the room full of confusion and desperation would never be forgotten. All the processes on that “Careless Incident” were unforgettable enough to make me more careful. However, I was very grateful. I was safe at last, safe at last.

Photo by: Sammy Samsuri

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