Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Throne Room

Five adults and a 3 year old girl are sitting at a table in a plushly decorated café. The girl, H, turns to her Aunt K, who is sitting on her left.

H (squeezing her legs together, pressing her hands to her knees and jiggling): I really, really need to go to the toilet.

K: Would you like me to take you?

H: Yes.

H and K get up and walk out of the café hand in hand. They approach a set of escalators.

H: I don’t like escalators, you will have to pick me up when we go on it.

K: Alright, but we’re not going on the escalator, we’re going behind it. See? We’re walking past it. But if we were going on the escalator I would have picked you up.

H looks up at K, absorbing this last statement. K notices smiling glances from passers-by as she guides H in the direction of the restrooms.

In the cubicle, H declines any help and very ably climbs onto the toilet herself.

H (pointing to the sanitary disposal unit): What’s this?

K: —. (thinking rapidly) Umm, it’s like a kind of big bin that grown up ladies use...

H nods.

K: ...because so you can have babies you have periods and that’s where the rubbish goes.

H continues to nod. K gives a sigh of relief that her garbled explanation has been accepted so readily, briefly wonders why this is so, but is hesitant to provoke any further questions of this nature by pressing the point.

H announces that her visit to the toilet will be prolonged.

H: I will need my privacy.

K: Oh. Shall I turn and face the wall?

H: Yes, you can look at the door.

K turns and looks alternately at the bend in the Laminex coated cubicle and the hinges on the door.

H (to K’s back): I like your shirt.

K: Thank you. It’s new.

H: Where did you get it from?

K: Myer.

H: It’s a nice colour. Pinky-purpley! Do you need to use the toilet after me?

K: (turning) Yes.

H: (nodding) This is a public toilet.

While H waits for K, she examines the range of colours on the tiled wall. H points at one in particular.

H: What would you call that colour?

K: Hmmm. I’d say it’s a kind of khaki green. There are lots of different kinds of green aren’t there?

H: Yes. This is a very nice toilet, isn’t it?

When they have washed and dried their hands, H and K make their way back to the café table, pausing to identify the various characters and creatures on the cakes in the display cabinet of the café.


Later that day, H and K are in another toilet, this time at home.

K: Would you like some privacy.

H: I would rather you help me than give me privacy.

K: Okay.

H: (Pointing at the toilet paper roll holder) Look at this colour.

K: What colour is it?

H: It’s silver. (Pointing at the wall). What colour is this?

K: Hmmm. It’s a strange colour isn’t it? What would you call it?

H: I’d call it grey.

K: And maybe a bit brown as well. It’s a tough one.

H: I like your curls. How did you get them?

K: My hair is just like that. I didn’t have to do anything to it.

H: What colour is your hair?

K: What would you call it? A sort of red?

H: Yes, and there’s some brown too. A reddy-brown, I think. (Crinkling her nose in concentration and nodding). What colour is Grandma’s hair? If you don’t know, I will tell you.

K: Okay, you tell me.

H: It’s a sandy red.

K: Ohhh?!

H: What are they? (pointing to the bottom of the door)

K: (Peering down). Ummm, they’re screws?

H: They’re not screws, they’re holes!

K: Oh, I see. It’s where some screws have been?

H: Yes. You don’t need to go to the toilet here do you? (Shaking her head)

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