She was there again today. I could smell her as I approached the bathroom door. Pushing it open, I felt the breeze of the open window, her way to try to keep her smell down.
She stood at the sink, wetting and soaping paper towel after paper towel. She glanced up from behind her hood as I came in.
She has to recognize me. This is the third time I’ve run into her like this, just she and I.
Young, she looks really young. Or maybe it’s just her short stature that makes me assume that. She’s wearing the same clothes as the last time. And the time before that.
I pushed open the first stall door and saw her bags of things. I had forgotten that the first stall was the one she usually uses.
So I went a few stalls down. She shuffled to the first stall and slammed the door. I heard the unmistakable sounds of scrubbing.
I quickly washed my hands and left. What to do, what to do?
A trusted coworker told me I had to tell someone. “This is a university. There are students here and this could present an unsafe situation. I mean, we ourselves had to get background checks to work here.”
He’s right. I know he’s right.
But I could pretend like I didn’t see anything.
But this is the third time I’ve seen her; it’s becoming a pattern.
But she’s not hurting anything.
But what if something happened?
Ignoring the ache in my stomach, I dialed Facilities, “Hey, I feel terrible saying this…”
J came up about ten minutes later and we walked down to the bathroom. I went in to “wash my hands” and, sure enough, she was still there. I confirmed it with J and he went in to kick her out. I went back to my desk and nearly cried.
J is like me, he didn’t want to do it either. “I saw a homeless man last week sitting on a heated grate and I let it go.” But he also understood that he’s bound by the university rules.
“I feel like I just betrayed my heart,” I told him after she’d gone.
What kind of revolutionary am I? What kind of human being am I? What kind of Christian, woman, friend, social justice advocate am I if I see someone in need and tell the system on them?! I am so ashamed. So. Ashamed.
I’m a piece of shit. That’s what I am, an absolute piece of shit. I hope she can forgive me.
I just betrayed my soul.