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On the cold bathroom floor I lay.

The tiles my back presses into have left it sore and aching. Or maybe the tiles are pressing into me? Deciding to leave the physical existential ponderance for later I worm about, struggling to get back on my legs.

My body moves side to side against the porcelain, furthering the pressure against my back. The fluorescent light above shines down on me harshly, its punishing gaze piercing my eyes. I shift and squirm for a while before I finally stop struggling and lay still for a moment. I think.

I really should have been more careful. Scurrying in here hurriedly had caused me a slip or a trip before. I should have learnt. I wiggle my legs again, trying to gain their use, to no avail. I may die here.

Maybe I’ll never gain use of my legs again. I’ll just lay here on this floor. For days. Withering away until I am released in a very permanent way. Perhaps I’ll be overcome with moments of determination. I’ll fight. I’ll struggle once more; I’ll try to get up again, try to leave this cold fluorescent hell. Maybe I’ll succeed. There is only one thing I know for sure. No one is coming to help me. Not unless you count putting me out of my misery as help.

I squirm around some more. These damn legs.

For the first time over the course of this predicament I am overcome with genuine despair. Damn this world. Damn whatever cruel god put me in it. Weak, small, alone, getting by in the shadows, while others live in the light. And to top it all off, this one last jab. My story ending, lying here. A pathetic life, a pathetic death.

I’ve never been one for wallowing, but I feel I am owed a moment of it now, just one moment to feel, to allow myself despondency. I deserve at least that much.

As it turns out, I am granted not even that. I hear footsteps down the hallway. At that I instinctively begin to call out for help, but my voice catches in my throat. A welcome interference from my otherwise incapacitated body. I don’t know if whoever is out there is a friend or foe. At this point I’d take even a foe who’d take me out quickly, who’d show me mercy.

But that, I am not guaranteed. They may make it slow, painful, cruel. So, I lay still. Not daring to move. I am hyperaware of the soreness in my back. There is nothing I can do, I am helpless. Then, a strange thought passes through my mind.

I wish I could cry.

I wish I could scream. I wish I could let out the pain both physical and emotional. But I can’t. All I can do is hold still. I continue to do so even as I hear the creak of hinges, and my fate walks through the door.

The teenager walked into the bathroom, fluffy slippers between her and the cold of the tiles. She rolled her eyes, noting that someone had left the lights on again. As she internally chastised her family, her walk up toward the sink was halted, and she finally laid eyes on what fell before it.

A scream pierced the air. It radiated through the halls; its lasting ring penetrating her ears. Footsteps echoed towards the bathroom, with her mother eventually halting to a stop behind her.

“Are you okay?” she blurted out in one breath, looking shaken.

“LOOK!” she received as the girl’s pained, choked reply, accompanied by a gesture towards the pearly shine of the floor.

The mother glanced confusedly at her daughter and then down to where she pointed. Realization and relief set in.

“Jesus Christ, you scared the shit out of me,” she laughed out, briefly lifting a hand to her forehead.

“Well THAT scared the shit out of me,” the teenager huffed incredulously.

“Just get rid of it, what are the dramatics for?” her mother responded, rapidly becoming impatient with her daughter’s hysterics.

“Ew. I’m not going near it.”

Her mother began to step forward to deal with the damn situation herself; muttering under her breath about “having to do everything around here.” Just then, a young boy ran into the bathroom, drawn in by the noise.

“Why is everyone screaming?” he enquired.

“Nothing love, your sister’s just being dramatic,” their mother replied, placing a hand on his shoulder. She attempted to shield his eyeline by shifting in front of him. The child, however, had spotted what the commotion was about, and had stopped paying attention to his mother.

“Ew, it’s so gross! And it’s moving!” he cried out, running up to the source of the ruckus. With pronounced motion he lifted his leg up and swiftly stomped his foot down. A crunching sound echoed in the room. His sister looked at him, horrified.

“God, that’s disgusting. Now you’ve got cockroach guts on your foot!”

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