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Kosay Jabre

Eye Contact

31 May, 2020

Why do restrooms stalls in North America have such huge gaps in the door?
When I worked at the offices of RBC, the male restroom on my floor had 4 stalls: 3 small stalls, and 1 huge handicapped stall.
For some reason, without really thinking about it, I would always use the handicapped stall (even though I am not handicapped).
It just was more comfortable I guess.

One day, I was in the handicapped stall and the outside bathroom door opened.
I did not hear any footsteps.
Instead, it was the creaking of a wheelchair.

"This cannot be happening", I thought.
I sunk back.
Maybe he just wants to wash his hands?

He rolled his wheelchair over and tried to open the door to the stall.
I was too embarrassed to say anything, so I did not.
He tried to open the door again.

"Anybody in there?"
I dug in and stayed silent.
I was dying of embarrassment.
I wanted to disappear.
Maybe he will think the stall is empty and locked?
Maybe he will think the stall is out of order?

"What the hell"
One last attempt to open the door, and then it happened.
Through the gap in the door, we made eye contact.

One excruciating, awkward, shaming, infinitely long, silent second of eye contact.

He rolled away and left the bathroom without saying a word.
But that eye contact said all that needed to be said.
Needless to say, I never used that restroom again for the entire summer I was there.