The heat was on and the moment of truth had arrived. Everything we'd been working on for years led up to this moment. The starter was poised with his pistol pointed in the air. I looked at my sisters, who sat next to me. I knew one of us was going to take home the gold day. I had a feeling it was going to be me since I had so much practice.
"On your marks, get set, go," yelled the man as he shot his gun.
The race had begun and we all started peeing since this was a peeing competition. Only the best could win this game.
And then I woke up wearing a nightgown soaked through with pee and wet sheets that clung to my legs. I had done it, again. I had peed the bed for the 8,000th night in a row. This time it was the allure of winning a peeing competition that had done me in. I was six, almost seven, and I was anxiously awaiting the day that I would stop wetting the bed.
The peeing wasn't solely confined to my bed. It happened at school, too. I watched as the pee pooled around the floor of my desk and hyperventilated. I wondered if I could someone pass the blame to Marcus, who sat in front of me and had already endured the shame of peeing in class. He could be the lightning rod for embarrassment and I could live another day without having to transfer schools. I decided to just stay quiet and spent the rest of the day sloshing around in pee soaked shoes and rancid smelling underwear. The polyester uniform skirt wasn't doing me any favors and I had a wide rash around my thighs by the end of the day.
I got the call today from Darla's school that she had, in the tradition of her mom, peed and needed a change of clothes. I ran out of the house, panicking the whole way to her school.
"This is going to be one of those days," I thought. "One of those days that leaves an indelible mark and forever changes the trajectory of her life."
I expected to walk into the office and find a devastated Darla ready to spew, "why did it take you so long?" at me. Instead, there was no Darla in the office. She was on the playground having a blast in her pee drenched underwear and shorts. When they brought her to me, she was beaming; so excited to be getting a brief interlude from normal, daily activities. This was an adventure.
Her entire attitude was that this was a side note and wasn't it so cool she got to go home to take a shower. Meanwhile, I'm recalibrating my entire belief system on childhood since, apparently, it isn't as fraught as I think it is. I never knew that public urination could be taken so lightly, which really opens up a lot of doors for me. As someone with a small bladder, this is an incredibly liberating bit of intel.