I have three ghost stories with personal connections. This is one of them.
It was the last day of fifth grade, so students and parents were lingering in my old classroom to say good-bye to the teacher. I was chatting with my friends whose parents had come by (Fremont is very big on parent involvement.) as we all waited to kick off summer, and for some reason, we all thought it would be great to talk about spooky urban legends.
We didn’t swap around many scary stories or discuss things you should “not” do in the dark at slumber parties or with my siblings, so though the wannabe mature kid in me knew to scoff at the nonsense, part of me was intrigued by the mystery of it all. There’s always something compelling about that which you cannot prove, even though it’s probably so-far unproven only because it’s not really worth the time and energy to prove.
So anyway my friends had to go and my mom was still sticking around to talk to my teacher. After all that Bloody Mary/Candy Man talk I had to go pee. It was really just the most polite excuse I could think of to get me out of the classroom that had me cooped up for nine months, so off to the restroom I went.
I went by myself which was nothing new. But once I stepped through the door I realized that I was actually alone. It was past the hour of my last class’ dismissal bell, the school was closed, kids were gone, and all the other teachers had probably run off to happy hour somewhere.
Even though it was broad daylight and the restroom door was still propped open, I suddenly felt on guard. I went pee though my hair was on edge, and I wiped and beelined to the sink with the quickness.
Oh, elementary school sinks. The ones with the metal-framed mirrors. Mirrors that perfectly reflect. Mirrors that could perfectly bring forth Bloody Mary even though it was, like, 3 p.m. in the afternoon in June in California.
So there I was washing my hands in the cold, running water, when – all of a sudden – BAM.
The door on the innermost stall banged against its frame. There was no apparent gust of wind in the restroom. No one had entered or even walked by the restroom since I had gone inside. I wasn’t even using that stall, so it couldn’t have been just a swinging door. WHAT THE FUCK IT MUST BE BLOODY MARY.
Cold water still running, I bolted. I headed straight back to my old fifth grade classroom where budding young adults shouldn’t be pee-your-pants scared over Candy Men and I bolted.
I acted all calm as my mom wrapped up her conversation with my teacher, said my final good-bye, and headed to her car. On the ride home I had this epic daydream that the single faucet I had left running would flood the school, that no janitors would be on duty because they were taking a break before a more thorough cleaning for summer, that my old administrators would think some ungrateful punk kid (which I was not) had left the water on blast,…or that maybe someone saw a soon-to-be sixth grader high-stepping out of the restroom like a bat out of Hell.
I hadn’t even summoned Bloody Mary and I bolted.
So there you have it. Sometimes I can play the chicken shit.