I should continue this story more often. Read the last part here.
In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, this is a series where I write for one hour straight and then take about ten minutes to edit it. After that ten minutes, whether the story is good or not, I post it.
I contemplate simply bursting through the door, but then I realize how uncivilized that would be — not to mention embarrassing if he isn’t actually in there. So instead, I slow down and tiptoe up to the large, swinging, mahogany door, placing my ear gently against the wood to try to determine if anyone’s inside. I hear nothing, but that’s probably just because the door is so thick. I lightly push forward on it until a slight gap appears, then I stop and listen some more. Still nothing. I decide it’s safe to enter.
The door creaks softly as it swings open and even softer as it falls back into place. My heels click against the small, square tiles of the polished ceramic floor as I cross the threshold and enter. After a few steps, I stop, looking around at the glistening white of the porcelain sinks and urinals. I turn and face the row of open stalls on my left. No one is there. My heart sinks, and I step out.
I thought for sure he would be inside. Where else could he have gone? I mean, sure, it was New York City’s main train station, so he could have gotten lost in a crowd. But at the terminal in which we were waiting, there was no crowd at all. The area was expansive and sparse, so if he tried to slip away without notice, I would have seen his flight, even if only the end.
The only place he could’ve gone without me noticing was the bathroom. But if he wasn’t inside, then–
“Bethany, did you just come out of the men’s restroom?”
Oh, dear Lord.
I don’t even need to turn around to know who it is. I’d recognize that voice anywhere.
“Martin,” I say, drawing out his name in disdain. “What on earth are you doing here?”
“Why, Betts, I was just about to ask the same!” He starts playing dumb, trying to set me up for a jab. “I mean, I thought you were supposed to be heading out to your family’s farm in York — to finish this year’s carrot picking, right?” I roll my eyes and smile in disgust, shaking my head as I look down to the ground. “But instead, you are here! In the men’s bathroom!”
“Very funny, Marty, but I am not in the men’s bathroom, and my family owns a vineyard,” I say casually, pulling my head up from the ground to look into his eyes. They’re a gorgeous shade of emerald that give away his fiery Irish roots. If he wasn’t always so rude, he’d actually be handsome.
“Also, I am no longer returning home,” I continue, crossing my arms over my chest. “I’m following a lead.”
“Oh, really?” he asks, suddenly interested in something not involving ridicule. “A lead on what?”
“None of your business, Martin. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have things to take care of.”
I instinctively walk down the corridor and into the ladies room, where he’d never have the guts to follow. Once inside, I turn to the first sink and set down my purse.
I look up into the mirror. I am tired, with deep purple bags forming under my eyes. I haven’t slept in almost three days. Normally, I’m used to this kind of strain, but for some reason, as of late, I just can’t handle it so well. That’s why I was going home for a bit, to take a rest and try to get my old vivacity back. But instead, I simply re-roped myself into this same dead-end path. When will I ever learn?
I decide that I’ve wallowed enough and now need to replace my ticket home. If I remember the schedule correctly, the next train to York will arrive in five hours. I grab my purse, sling it on my shoulder and turn to my left, beginning to walk back to the door.
But as I do, something in the far corner next to the very last stall catches my eye. It’s a maroon sweater, navy pants, and brown loafers crouched down and watching me, paused halfway through shoving a large black case into a not-so-large gray duffle bag.
So my German speaker is here, after all.