I was nine when I got locked in a bathroom inside my own house.
And no, it wasn’t easy to free myself. I was actually, truly, really stuck.
The following is a (slightly embellished) version of how I was deserted in my own home, left to fend for myself inside a desolate, personal bathroom prison.
It was summer. The day in question was pretty hot, if I remember correctly. My mother implemented this rule she liked to call, “Amish Time” during our summer breaks. Meaning every weekday from 9-5pm, there was no technology – i.e. GameBoy color, Nintendo 64, AOL 5.0 – of any kind allowed.
The only exception to “going Amish” was when the US Open of Tennis was being broadcasted, because she wanted to watch that. I cannot wait to be a parent and make self-benefitting rules.
I digress. Since technology wasn’t allowed, we were reduced to remedial means of entertainment, like having conversations with each other, imaginative play, and embracing the great outdoors. We always gravitated towards the pool because it passed the time extremely fast, and it was always fun to have our mom rate belly flops for hours on end.
It was after lunch; all four of us steamrolled down the hallway and onto the deck. We waited for my mom to sit down in her chair under the umbrella, her idea spot for visibility and shaded protection, before we all made our entries into the shallow end.
We had been outside for a while when nature called. I had to pee.
There is a bathroom very close to the pool; yet for some reason, unbeknownst to me in the present day, I chose to use the upstairs bathroom, located on the opposite side of the house.
I approach the bathroom, go inside, close the door. Routine procedure. Until it wasn’t.
At the moment I closed the door, the handle on the interior of the bathroom fell out of the socket. From the inside, the door looks like this:
I immediately freaked out. I look my new surroundings, there are four walls. No windows. A shower curtain and rod. And a door that will not open.
I yelled for probably eight minutes. Immediately after screaming at nothing, I screamed at myself, “WHY ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH DID YOU PICK THE ONLY BATHROOM WITH NO WINDOWS?!”
My screams fell on deaf ears. Everyone was outdoors enjoying the sunshine; a luxury I was no longer afforded since I went and trapped myself in this four-walled, shame cellar.
I was here, alone, stuck in the bathroom of my nightmares. After about fifteen minutes of wasted tears, unheard screams, and pathetic cries, I rescanned my surroundings for something I could use to get me out of this joint.
I contemplated. I saw the shower rod as a weapon; I yanked the curtain down from the wall with the brute strength of a toddler, and quickly disassembled the curtain from the rod. I had seen jousting before; I knew poles were deadly. And this door was my opponent.
Only I had no idea that blunt, hollow, metal poles were not strong enough to break down a two-inch thick wood door. I tried anyways. I took the pole over my shoulder and rammed it as hard as I could into the back of the door. There was a dent.
“YES!” I thought, “SMALL VICTORIES!” This dent was a small step towards freedom, and I quickly got into position to make another one.
I hit the door with the shower rod eight times before giving up from boredom.
That was it. That was all I had. No more ideas. No more drive. I was stuck. I wrapped myself in the shower curtain and cried. I thought about how long I could survive in there. “Probably seven days without food, maybe four without water.” I guessed, “But I have a sink, a shower, and a toilet for the worst case scenario – hydration was covered.”
I planned out my missing persons ad, “Girl locked in bathroom, gone for weeks before found.” It sounded sincere, I guess.
I had accepted my new living conditions, because I had decided that I may as well take a nap. Putting my head on the floor, and using the curtain as a blanket, I prepared to snooze the time away in my new surroundings.
Until I heard my brother’s footsteps. He was coming up the stairs; I was immediately filled with glee and adrenaline.
I shot up off the floor, shed my shower curtain blanket, and started screaming through the hole where the door handle used to be. “BRIAN! HELP ME. GET ME OUT OF HERE.”
He heard my cry and comes to my aid. “Meg, get the door handle from the floor.” He points to the handle on the inside with me. “Pick it up and stick it back into the slot where it was before.” I picked it up and did as I was told.
“Now turn it.” And so I did. Like magic, the door opened and I was freed from captivity. I ran outside, fell to the floor and hugged the ground. I was so happy to be out of there. It was the worst twenty minutes of my life.
After helping me escape, Brian looks at me and says, “Yeah, I came up here before lunch and had the same thing happen to me.” I was relieved I wasn’t the only one. “I just used the door handle and got myself out. Super easy if you think about it.” The sad thing was, he wasn’t even gloating. He was genuinely smarter than me.
I was trapped and immediately resorted to jousting my way out, but only after I wrapped myself in a shower curtain cape. Brian just picked up the source of the problem and immediately let himself return to society as a functioning human being.
After the whole ordeal, I still had yet to go to the bathroom. I used the downstairs one though, just in case.