I was there, too...
Jeannie flicked images on her phone. “Look, mom, this is the new school”. She was so happy her daughter would talk to her like that. All day at work the other moms were whining how their daughters never spoke to them.
“Here's the classroom. This one on the back is my desk. I drew that bouquet of flowers on it today”.
“It's lovely, darling” Melanie said, thinking, “I'm sure the next thing I'm going to hear is: I want to have a tattoo like that” but she stopped herself before saying anything out loud.
And here's our hiding spot in the yard. Melanie knew hiding meant smoking but she let that slide too. One thing at a time.
She continued flicking past pictures describing this and that. Between them a plain door in pale green. Melanie could distinguish a heart or two drawn in marker on it. She squinted.
“Ah, this is just the bathroom door” Jeannie said and quickly flicked past it. Melanie did not immediately react. She kept staring blankly at the phone as a cinema reel started playing in her mind's eye.
The set was a school bathroom, but way more decadent than the one in her daughter's photo, at least judging by the state of the door. Marker graffiti on every wall, broken mirrors, stickers everywhere. She pictured a young girl with a red marker, drawing a heart around a BFF acronym and a couple of names she couldn't even remember anymore. She also saw the same girl rushing to take a tiny piece of paper out of her underwear and taking two quick glances before flushing it down the drain. Suddenly the girl is now sitting on the sink counter, leaning on the back wall with her bare feet under the running water, while her friends were leaning on the stall doors, all smoking camel cigarettes out of a battered soft pack in the foreground. Soon the other girls disappeared and here she is again, legs wrapped around that tall boy with the wavy hair and strong hands. A shiver traveled through her spine as she remembered their lips crushing together while his body pushed her against the wall.
She tried to shake the feeling. “Hey mom, what is it? I lost you there.”
“Yes I'm with you. I was just thinking that no school bathroom, is just a bathroom...”