Twelve Months of Awkward Moments
Dani can’t wait for senior year at college. A straight-A scholar whose anxiety is a daily struggle, being awkward, introverted, and studious has become a way of life. She vows this year will be different. It’s time to move beyond her comfort zone, but that’s not easy.
Dani’s wild roommate and handsome best friend hate each other; her crazy family won’t leave her alone; and a new job forces her to be social. Unfortunately, when college romance finally calls, Dani is unable to answer thanks to a stalker who has her all tied up.
I’m applying for a receptionist position at a physical therapist office. Stress has left my stomach upset, my head throbbing, and my bladder full. I need to find the restroom to both relieve my need and gulp down some headache medicine. I bolt up the concrete stairs on the sunless, November day, and enter the dingy white-walled lobby. A large white sign directs me to the Quest Physical Therapy office on the second floor in room B-Two. I hurry up the flight of stairs and search for the restroom. There’s a men’s room to the right and ladies to the left.
I stop, dumbstruck. “Out of order” is written on the women’s room door. Seriously? I glance at my watch. Less than five minutes before my interview. No time to run downstairs. Chance the men’s room? What’s the possibility someone would be in there? I open the door and glance around. Nothing. Safe.
I slip inside, and I’m about to enter a stall when a man exits the one next to me. A noisy flush sound swirls behind him. Tall, manicured, in a chalk gray polo shirt and khaki pants, he stares at me.
I stammer my reply. “Sorry. Girls’ room not functioning. Thought this was empty.”
His eyes fill with mirth. “Don’t let me stop you.” He shuffles to the sink.
I really have to pee. What are my options? I sprint toward the empty stall, watching his broad shoulders as he washes his hands. He eyes me in the mirror. I send him a weak smile before I close the door.
I pull down my sensible interview panties and wait. I can’t go knowing he is still in the room. I want to hear him exit out the door. Tense seconds tick by, but they feel like minutes. My bladder screams for relief as the water faucets shut off. The paper towel dispenser releases its crunchy square. Finally, the bathroom door opens. I wait until it slams shut. Relief. It’s a long time coming.
After, I quickly wash my hands, swallow my headache meds, and check my hair and teeth, not wanting to linger in the little boys’ room and encounter another stranger. I peek at my phone. One minute early. A few deep breaths for courage as I march down the short hall before I enter Quest Physical Therapy.
A manicured blonde receptionist sits behind the desk. She stares up at me inquisitively when I approach.
“Can I help you?” she asks.
“I have an interview with…” I scroll through the notes on my phone. “Brice James, or is it James Brice?” I’m suddenly confused. She doesn’t help me out.
“I’ll let him know. Take a seat, please.”
As I wait, I scan the room. Feeble old folks using walkers and canes sit next to super-fit athletes harnessed into walking casts and recuperative braces. A few middle-aged men and women with various ailments fill in the crowd.
An office door opens. Gray polo man enters the room.
Lisa Acerbo is a high school teacher and adjunct instructor at a local Community College. Her previous novels have been published through a variety of indie presses. She has a short story “Carnivorous” coming out in October as part of an anthology titled Carnival of Nightmares. When not writing or teaching, she spends time with her family, friends and pets. She also fosters dogs to help them find their forever homes.
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Contact Lisa Acerbo at firstname.lastname@example.org
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