If I could be anyone in the whole wide world, I would be nightclub toilet me. Not that normal me is so bad. I don’t mean to sound bigheaded but I think I’m alright actually, maybe even a good person if you get me in the right mood. It’s just, usually, I’m a bit crap with people.
Give me a few drinks; sling me in amongst terrible strip lighting; sticky floors; and the wails of a strange woman begging for someone to pass her a bit of toilet paper: other people and me, we get on pretty well. Plus, for reasons I don’t understand, nightclub toilet me’s face sends out a signal to those around me to reveal their deepest darkest secrets.
When I say secrets, I’m talking the full spectrum. From some bird telling me her thong snapped and she’s had to chuck it in the sanitary bin and go commando; to another crying in my arms, telling me she winched a man that isn’t the fiancé she’s meant to marry in two weeks, and she thinks she should call the wedding off. For comparison, everyday me gets told approximately zero secrets. The occasional rumour two folk in accounts got caught at it in the disabled loos, but those titbits are generally never true nor from the source. So yeah, nightclub toilet me, if could be anyone, I’d be her.
Actually, if I get to be anyone, I’m specifically choosing optimum nightclub toilet me. She’s five gins in, wants to have a good time, has the presence of mind to say no to tequila but is mentally loose enough not to dwell on the fact she dances the exact same way to every song, regardless of tempo or genre.
The five gins, that’s important. I’ve been four gin me and it didn’t go well. My face still held whatever magical quality makes folk want to talk but my reactions were pure sober me.
Let me set the scene, I’m sure you’ve been in your share of this city’s nightclub toilets. I don’t want you to get confused where we are. This one, is off the side to the dance floor in The Attic in The Garage. I mean, it used to be. I’m not nineteen anymore, so I don’t go into The Garage to know what the current layout is. Anyway, black walls, always puddles of clear liquid on the floor regardless of how early on in the night you were in there. That’s where me and my friend from work were. I’ll call her Miranda, because that’s not her name. There were only two cubicles in this bit and we always shared. The music was muffled and you could hear everything anyone said. It was magic.
I’d peed first and was standing, adjusting the sagging crotch of my Topshop tights as Miranda went. She was drunker than me, her face didn’t say ‘hey come tell me your secrets’ it said ‘keep your distance I may spew’. She looked up at me, her eyes so heavy I thought she might shut them and nap on the industrial looking chrome toilet, when she said ‘You know Craig?’
Unfortunately for us both, I did. He was her on-again, off-again boyfriend. Another good thing about nightclub toilet me is how positive I am, so I didn’t groan at the mention of his name, only said, ‘Yes.’
‘He got me pregnant.’
I tried to calculate how much she’d drank, wine in the flat, five vodkas in the pub, a few shots in the club. Shit, shit, shit. ‘He did? Well let’s not drink anymore, eh?’
She stayed on the toilet. Not wiping, not moving. Staring at me with her leaden eyes, her skirt bundled up on her lap and her knickers round her knees. ‘I’m not still pregnant.’
‘Abortion.’ She grabbed at the toilet roll. Tearing it with such force it came off in ragged pieces rather than squares. ‘Almost didn’t. Turns out I have a funny shaped uterus. I might have had to keep it, if it was a miracle I got pregnant in the first place. They did tests. It wasn’t a miracle. I took a pill, bled for a few days and now no baby.’
I let my back fall against the door of the cubicle. The lock rattled, filling the space where my response should’ve been. A response the fifth gin would have provided if I’d had it. She flushed away our combined piss and as we washed our hands, I finally figured out what to say. I moved my mouth to speak when two girls came in, taking the same cubicle we’d used. Miranda shook her head, not wanting them to hear.
The next day at work I saw Miranda. I wasn’t in the office with the shagging accountants yet. Instead I spent my weekends folding and refolding t-shirts all day to the soundtrack of loud crap pop music. When I got onto the shop floor, she gave me a wee wave from behind the till. I couldn’t tell from her demeanour whether she’d forgotten about her confession; if she had to tell someone and then never speak of it again; or if she was waiting for my response in a private place.
If I was nightclub toilet me all the time, I’d have waited til the end of our shift, when we were walking to the bus stop together and told her, ‘That thing you said last night. I wanted you to know you’re not alone. It happened to me too. Not with the funny shaped uterus or Craig, but the abortion. I understand doll, and you don’t have to be sad and pished to talk to me about it. If you want, we can chat about it anytime you like.’
But I’m not nightclub toilet me, so I never mentioned it again.
Samantha is a writer and director, who focuses on short-form work. Her stories have appeared in Razur Cuts and Clover & White. Two of her plays, Priorities and Stockpile, have been performed at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch. She can be found on Twitter @mrsdooeymiles and Instagram @samanthadooeymiles.