I stumble into the bathroom, hoping for a break from the chaos in the halls, but find a group of preschoolers enjoying the acoustics of the tiled bathroom. Their high-pitched screams echo off the hard surfaces and I decide the cacophony outside is preferable to the screeches and giggles in here.
One of the teachers smiles sympathetically to me and I nod and step back out barely missed running into a giant of a man wearing a heavy gray trench coat. Voiced tangle around me as I’m pushed down the hallway back towards the main room where Casey is waiting for me.
“That didn’t take long.”
“Preschoolers. I don’t need to go that bad.” I twist the strap on my purse and look for an open space or at least a more open space. My head is fuzzy and I feel myself break out in a sweat. Everything is okay. Everything is okay. I scan the room and pull Casey to a spot I’ve found. She’s smiling and everyone else looks fine. There’s no danger. I’m okay. Nothing bad is happening. But my heart is pounding and I feel my shoulders tighten up to my ears. I rub my chest under the strap of my messenger bag. Thankfully this room is full of light. I try to focus on the veins of gray that crawl through the slaps of white marble on walls.
“There’s probably another bathroom inside.” Casey says pulling out a map in her pamphlet.
I shake my head, knowing I don’t really have enough breath to answer. I rub my hands together trying to get blood flowing through them.
“I really want to see the Neo Classical room, of course.” Casey pulls out her travel journal and slides her pamphlet into the back. “Where do you want to go first?”
I shrug and walk to the line that leads into the museum. I scan some of the banners. “I don’t know. I want to see all of it mostly.”
Word Prompt: Echo
Photo Credit: Brian Koprowski