Every time I use a public restroom
I search closely for the sign--
the one with the silhouette of a human figure in a dress
to affirm that I am, in fact, headed into the restroom assigned to my gender.
I fear accidentally walking into the wrong restroom
and awkwardly confronting a man when I am expecting a woman.
I fear embarrassment.
And even when firmly planted on the toilet’s seat,
the thought of accidentally squatting in the wrong bathroom
sends me to panic,
so I listen to each foot step
praying to hear the click-clack of high heels on tile.
I strain my ears to hear the sound of a woman's voice--
I have never longed to hear the sound of a woman's voice
like I do in this moment.
I peer under the stalls hoping to catch a glimpse
of a woman's bare ankle
to reassure me that I am in the right restroom.
This sense of fear sends me to a downward spiral
as I question whether or not I remembered to put on deodorant this morning,
and then I think of the stove in my house--I’m sure I left it on
and my house will start on fire swallowing my dog in flames;
I don’t remember shutting the garage door either after leaving for work,
a black masked robber is sure to steal my computer and guitar
and TV, the only valuable possessions I have.
Were my kids wearing underwear to school today? I wonder.
And just when fear has gripped my thoughts I
suddenly remember the absence of urinals in this bathroom
and from behind the locked stall doorI realize my fears, like most of my fears, are irrational.