Dated | chapter 3


“A simple and inexpensive way to update a room is paint.” The speaker breezed on to talk about popular theories on neutrals and suggested that apple green had now entered the category as neutral and that would be a great color to paint the bedroom on the screen.

“Seriously?” Amy thought to herself but smiled and nodded in feigned agreement. But that’s really all she heard.

Lily poked her mother and said, “Potty Mama, potty.” Amy shushed her but quickly gathered her and her big tote bag and coat off the back of her folding chair and headed for the door. She caught the eye of the sales clerk and mouthed, restroom, and the clerk pointed and quickly came out from behind the counter and Vanna gestured in the direction to the right, and then walked to lead Amy and the squirming toddler. Potty training had been going slow and hadn’t been that successful. The doctor said she wasn’t worried, but Amy was concerned. All her friends had potty training success with their children, some as early as eighteen months. Lily was nearly 3 1/2.

The store restroom had rosy marble floors and walls with black marble trim bordering the edges. The mirrors made the room seem endless, and a crystal chandelier hung over sinks. Amy quickly walked through to the farthest and largest stall and was surprised to find not just a comfort height adult toilet but a low toddler sized toilet. Lily squealed in delight when she saw the miniature fixture.

“My potty! My potty!” Lily echoed herself and in the vast marble restroom. Thankfully someone turned on a hand dryer and covered her little girl’s bubbling excitement. It was cute. Too cute. It was a happy find even though it happened to be where it was. This was going on their list of swell things.

Amy leaned back against the cool marble wall and  breathed out a sigh then felt her throat tighten, and had to blink back sudden tears that squirted out of her eyes. Just that quickly she had gone from nearly the same delight as her daughter back to the familiar ache. She fought it back by telling the little jabbering girl, “When you’re all done we’ll take a picture for Daddy. He won’t believe what we found today, will he?”

“You’re such a good girl for making it to the potty.” She added quickly to reinforce and encourage. Lily smiled and tinkled.

When white tights had been adjusted and ruffles smoothed, Amy pulled her phone from her pocket and with a flick of her finger pressed the camera on. “Hold still right there.” Lily beamed a big silly grin. The flash went off, then for safe measure Amy took a couple more shots, one with both fixtures for scale. Just as she was gathering her stuff and her daughters hand to leave the stall, the dryer went off and she heard the women talking under the chandelier in the sink area.

“…I had the sense to get rid of them back in 2001 along with ruffled bedskirts. Tied back draperies are so dated.” The woman that had been sitting next to her and had introduced herself as Mrs. Jackson was speaking to a woman with a gold store name tag on her black wool jacket. Mrs. Jackson glanced in Amy’s direction and seemed to wince but smiled down at Lily as she tapped toward the sinks in her patent leather mary janes with extra emphasis.

“Hello again,” Amy said to Mrs. Jackson, then looked at the woman wearing the name tag. “We want to say thank you to Harold’s for the fixture in the last stall.” She smiled and looked down at Lily. “Say thank you for the potty Lily.”

“Thank you for the potty.” Lily squealed and echoed. Mrs. Jackson winced then smiled at the little girl.

“You are very welcome.”

To be continued…

About Robin Arnold

Reader, writer, gardener, geek, maker of homes in several states, now settled in Virginia with husband Bob, and Ruby and Wilson the tabby cats.
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