Within Close Range: The 2nd Floor Girls’ Bathroom

I think I spent more time in the second floor girls’ bathroom at Lake Forest High School than I did in any one of my junior or senior classes.

We were there – my best friends and I – every lunch and chance we could to steal away and smoke our Marlboro Lights; one after another, until the bell rang for class and we emerged from the swinging bathroom door, in a huge, smelly puff of smoke.

Our tobacco-less friends – and true friends they were – tolerated sitting on a cold, dirty bathroom floor, in between old, green stalls with toilets that sounded like tornados when flushed through the old pipes of the old school; and would emerge from the toxic fog looking pale and sickly.

They put up with this dark, plumbed clubhouse day in and day out because we also spent a lot of time in the second floor girls’ bathroom laughing.

And Gossiping.

And singing, and crying and dancing.

And growing.

And being silly in a way none other than teens girls can.

Forming friendships through smoke rings and stall doors.

The teachers who classrooms where nearest the second floor girls’ bathroom

surely knew of our lung-blackening infractions, but chose to turn a blind eye – or in this case, nose to it for two years.

I remember only one occasion when a teacher entered, surprising the group of us who had been chattering and laughing so loudly, we were disrupting her classroom next door. Which is exactly why we heard nothing as she cut her way through the Marlboro haze and surprised us.

Teen girls scattered in every direction, dousing butts in the nearest basin, uselessly waving arms and spritzing “Charlie”, so that the teacher now standing in the middle of the still-smoldering mayhem would certainly be none the wiser of the goings-on in the second floor girls’ bathroom.

She simply stood in the center of the two rows of stalls, as a fog of cigarette smoke still hung heavy on the high ceiling, and said loudly, and very firmly, “OUTSIDE!”, which resounded and boomed against the porcelain-filled room.

Our departure was quick and very quiet.

And our return to the 2nd floor girls’ bathroom the very next day, guaranteed.

Author: Anne Celano Frohna

I am a writer, a mother of two girls, Eva (20) and Sophia (18) and wife to one husband, Kurt. I was mostly a professional writer and editor for 30 years for graphic arts and advertising, for publishers of newspapers, magazines, books, etc.,. Now, I have a blog where I post my creative non-fiction, short stories, a couple of illustrated children's stories and a comedy I wrote about two years I spent teaching English in rural Japan (NOT a story for a child.). I’m also working on a new blog about the wonderful, hand-crafted items I've collected over the years at beautyofthrift.com. - which will also connect to the Etsy shop I recently opened called Channeling Nonna. My husband and I both love to cook and to entertain and have welcomed friends and family to our homes for over 20 years. With our eldest off at college, we also began hosting with Airbnb, the perfect (and most natural) way for me to continue to pursue my passion of writing, while at the same time help us pay for current and future college expenses.

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