I closed the text message from my dad and went back to reading. I flipped the page and burrowed further into my blanket.
I closed the text message from my mom and turned my phone upside down. Even though they hadn’t been married for over ten years, they were apparently on the same shitting schedule.
I folded the corner of my page and sat up to look down the hall. At least one bathroom should be open now.
Since my mom had moved in, it seemed like there was never a free bathroom. There were five of us and only three bathrooms. Luckily, over the past week it had become easy to figure out when a bathroom was open. These text messages actually seemed to have some sort of benefit to them, thankfully.
My mom walked into the living room, rubbing her hands together. I was tempted to ask her if she’d washed her hands before she’d texted me, but I looked back down at my book instead. Somehow I feel like she wouldn’t appreciate the question much.
My dad still hadn’t come downstairs from his bathroom in the master bedroom. I doubted he’d washed his hands yet either.
He’d started this thing a week and a half or so ago. He’d started texting us, my twin brother, my twin brother’s girlfriend, my mom, and myself whenever he pooped. No reason why. He just did.
Since then, my twin brother, my twin brother’s girlfriend, my mom, and I had all started texting each other whenever we pooped as well. My boyfriend tried to get in on it as well, but he didn’t really understand the mechanics of it. We just texted the time they dropped the kids off at the pool, not that they did. He tried to add in a few too many details.
I deleted the text from my dad and looked up at the water-stained ceiling where his bedroom was located.
“Seriously, Cliff?” My mom called up the stairs, one hand on her hip. The other rested in its cast, dangling stiffly. One of the cats walked down the stairs, winding between her legs, only to run away when my dad’s voice rumbled down from his bedroom in response.
I opened my book and tried to focus on how Bilbo was escaping the elves, but the lit up screen of my cellphone nagged at me from the corner of my eye.
These texts had been practically nonstop lately it felt like. How many times could someone poop in a day?
Well, when it came to my dad, a lot apparently.
He always seemed to have to take a shit.
No matter where we were, we’d have to be wary of the fact that we might have to leave so that dad could go home and use the bathroom.
He hated using public restrooms. He didn’t like people to hear him. Whether we were in Sam’s Club, CVS, Target, Chiles, Red Robin, Waffle House, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Ac Moore, Lowes, Whole Foods, or McDonalds, he would not use the bathroom.
But apparently he was okay with letting us all know about his bathroom habits via text message.
Then again, he did also seem to occasionally enjoy company while he went to the bathroom. He always left the door open whenever he went in to poop.
The cats, the dog, my little brother, my twin brother, and I all visited him during his half hour to hour-long poop sessions. It was family tradition of sorts.
My brothers and I got all serious topics of discussion out of the way during this time. My twin brother used it to tell him if he’d failed a chemistry test, while my little brother liked to sit and ask if our dad would buy him something at the store, usually Pokemon cards or video games.
I’d sat there many a time, the doorframe digging into my spine, asking him if I should break up with my boyfriend. The answer was always a resounding yes, but I kept coming back to ask the same question.
The cats in particular seemed to enjoy spending this quality time with him. Rockie, the elder of the two, liked to curl up in his pants to keep him from getting up. Dad didn’t mind too much when this happened. It gave him an excuse to keep playing the electronic poker game he got from the dollar bin at Target.
Of course, now that my mom was here, he didn’t spend quite as much time in the bathroom. I sometimes wonder if it was because he felt self-conscious about it. I would feel self-conscious about pooping in front of my ex-wife as well.
Then again, they were now exchanging their shit–times, so perhaps he wasn’t as self-conscious as I’d originally thought.
Excerpt of a comedy creative nonfiction essay draft that I’m working on for class. Enjoy! 🙂