The public bathroom incident

In this memory, it is summer, and I am four years old. Somewhere, my mother gets the information that the International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians is held in our town this year.

We are no aspiring musicians, but since the competition is so famous and it is such a rare opportunity to listen to the performances of talented young musicians, my mother and my two best friends’ mothers decide to take us three girls to the competition for one day. An educational outing, so to speak.

The problem is that infants are not allowed on the venue. Only children over six years old who are capable of remaining quiet during the performance are allowed. Luckily, my friends and I are all tall for our age, and our mothers tell us to pretend to be six years old. As for our little siblings, there is no way they can be quiet, so they are going to stay at home with their fathers.

“Be very quiet!”

A serious warning is given to us before we enter the concert hall.

Though it is a new experience for me to watch an advanced piano performance from a seat near the stage, in no time, I am bored. I am more interested in playing with my friends than sitting here quiet. But both my friends and I keep our promise and remain quiet for the whole day.

While I endure my educational outing, my father takes my little brother on a more casual and fun outing. Later that evening, I hear a most amazing story from my father about their day’s adventure.

My father took my baby brother on a subway ride, then to a shopping mall. Just to roam around in a fun, new environment. Once, they went to use a public washroom. There was nobody else there. After taking care of both of their needs in one of the booths, my father flushed the toilet as he would normally do.

The next moment, water started to rise in the toilet. Something was off. Instead of flowing, the water kept rising, carrying things he did not even want to think about. He ran, with my baby brother in his arms. Out of the booth, out of the washroom, away from the approaching disaster. All the while, my brother remained calm because he did not understand what was happening.

“It was the worst day ever!” My father concludes his story while my mother and I burst into laughter.

And I think to myself, what a fun day they have had. Who could have imagined while I was sitting quiet in that concert hall, such a true adventure was taking place. I wish I had been there.