Since we had been eliminated from camouflage countdown, I approached Adam, who had also been removed from the game and was sitting on a wooden bench, chatting with other campers. My bladder was full and nature was calling.
“Excuse me, Adam. Could you please tell me where to find the bathroom?”
“Sure!” Adam stood up. “Follow me.”
“Let’s go, eh?” I said to Patrick and he nodded his head. I grabbed his hand and did as instructed as Adam walked up the hill. We ducked between and stepped over hiding campers still involved in the game.
Adam came to a stop at the crest of the hill beside a large oak tree and pointed to an obvious trail on the forest floor.
“Just follow the byway to the box.” Adam waved his arms and gave a little bow and I smiled. “Or sometimes we call it the pathway to poopdom.” Adam told Patrick. Patrick giggled.
“That’s great, Adam,” I gave him a half smile as we started along. “Thanks.”
Patrick followed along behind me still giggling and repeating “Poopdom” to his great amusement. I stopped about 100 yards in when I saw Thomas ahead. He was doing a dance of sorts. He turned towards us as he heard us approaching.
“Hey, Thomas. What’s happening?”
“Just waiting to use the thunder box.”
I looked past him and still could not see the outhouse. “I don’t see it.” I said.
“It’s deeper in there. But Cory is using it right now, so you have to wait here until he’s done. You know…for privacy.” Thomas told me with a flourish of his hands.
“OK, gotcha.” I nodded and then noted Cory, who as it happened was the kid with the bright yellow t-shirt who was hiding in the bushes with us, tramping down the path.
“Your turn!” Cory sang as he walked past Thomas and gave him a high-five. Thomas skipped along the path and disappeared.
Patrick and I waited patiently. I looked to the sun as it was getting closer to sunset and Patrick was using a twig to draw in the dirt. As we waited two more campers lined up behind us.
Thomas finally came skipping back and, like Cory had, high fived myself and Patrick as we started along the ‘path to poopdom’. It was another 200 yards in when I discovered the ‘box’.
Indeed. It was just a box. No walls, no ceiling. Just a box.
It was a wooden box with bit of a mossy patina, a hole cut into it, an open lid and a roll of damp looking toilet paper. I looked back towards the pathway. The good news was that the location was remote enough that no one could see me but the feeling of exposure was definite.
Patrick looked up at me. “It that it?” His look of confusion mirrored my feelings exactly.
“I…guess…so…” I said. “OK dude. Let’s get down to business! You first?” I offered. He shook his head.
“You first, Mum.” He pointed to me. “I’ll wait.” I winced.
Putting on a brave face I said, “OK. Here goes nothing.”
I sat gingerly down on the cool, slightly damp seat, taking care not to get a sliver. God, could you imagine? Who would take my sliver out, I wondered! As I sat…I could not relax. I took a deep breath and looked back down toward the path. I couldn’t see anyone but still, I felt on display. And technically I was on display for Patrick who stood 5 feet away watching with a scowl on his face. I gave him a pout back.
“Mum! Hurry up!” Patrick whispered. “I gotta go toooooo!”
“OK! OK!” I whispered back. “It’s just kinda hard to go without any privacy.” I explained.
“Just goooo!” Patrick whined.
“OK!” I said and I tried to relax again. I took another deep breath and tried to still my mind and just ‘let it rip’. My bladder was aching by this time. That’s when I heard the distant buzzing of a mosquito. I looked around to try to locate it. I couldn’t see it anywhere. I craned my neck this way and that, but could not find it. That’s when it occurred to me that maybe it was trapped. Trapped inside the box. A shiver went up my spine. I blinked and then very delicately lifted a cheek. The buzzing became louder as the mosquito escaped. I watched her fly her lazy loops in the air and then she alighted on my thigh. I smacked her. It left a bloody mess on my leg and I shuddered. A near miss on a very awkwardly itchy night!
“Mum! Please!” Patrick was doing the potty dance, hopping from one foot to the other.
“Sorry! I’m trying, buddy!” I apologized. Apparently I had a bit of a shy bladder. “Can you please turn around and stop watching me? I think I will be able to go if you aren’t staring at me.”
“Fine!” Patrick huffed and walked over to one of the trees and stepped in behind it. “Is that better?”
“Ya. Thank you!” I said. I took another deep breath and looked around. It really was a pretty spot actually. Very scenic. I was surrounded by tall oaks, maples, birch and pine trees. Sun and shade danced around on the forest floor. I could hear the sound of a wood pecker, a jeering blue jay, voices of campers, and a far off jet ski. The smell wasn’t great, but what did one expect? And as I contemplated my surroundings I was finally able to ‘let loose’. I sighed with relief.
“Patrick! I’m done finally.” I said as I stood and used my little bottle of hand sanitizer. Patrick came out from behind the tree as he was fastening his zipper.
“It’s OK, Mum. I already went,” he said. “Behind the tree.” He pointed unnecessarily. “Dad showed me how once.”
Oh, to be a boy…