"Oh my gosh! I can't BELIEVE you are making me come in here!" the little boy wailed at his mom as she pulled him by the hand into the restroom of the restaurant.
My husband and I had met some of our friends for lunch at a nice Greek restaurant and when the women excused ourselves to go to the bathroom this is the scene that unfolded before us.
The boy looked to be about seven. He carried on a running lament to his mother as she hurried into the stall and he froze into place outside near the sinks where I was waiting for my friends.
"I will just be a minute," she told him. "I can't leave you all alone at the table in such a busy restaurant. Do not move, be patient, and I will be right out," she finished.
I didn't face him directly, but I could see him behind me in the mirror. He had his hands clasped over his eyes as he leaned uncomfortably against the wall.
"Mom, I am a man! Why did you make me come into the ladies' bathroom! It's not right!" he complained loudly. His mother made no answer from inside the stall.
One of my friends exited and joined me at the mirror. I reached into my bag to apply some lipstick.
"I'm dying in here, mom! How could you do this to me?" he continued. My friend smiled covertly at me at his antics and reached in to her purse for a spritz of perfume. As she sprayed her wrist, he yelped. "Torture, mom, torture!" I noticed his hands had slipped down from his face, and although he wouldn't make eye contact with us via the mirror, he was looking around at his surroundings.
This was a nicely outfitted restroom with a plush sofa, a matching chaise lounge, a table in front of them, and lush decorative touches all around. The table held lotion, mints, and magazines.The owners had obviously taken care to make sure this would be a welcoming place for women. It even had small tv screens in each stall, with news programs running on them.
Our third friend joined us at the mirror and raised her eyebrows at us at the sight of our little visitor. By now he had plopped himself down on the sofa and raided the bowl of mints on the table. As my friend washed her hands, the boy's mom made her way out and over to the sinks. He wandered over and peeked into a stall when he thought no one was looking.
"Mom, Mom, did you know there's a tv in here?" he asked excitedly.
"Yes," she laughed.
"I've never seen a boy's bathroom that has all this stuff. Why do girls get the good stuff and we get just regular things in ours?"
"I don't know," she answered with a smile. "Maybe that's something you can ask your dad when he gets here in a little bit."
He walked over and put more mints into his pocket. He pumped out some lotion onto his hands and smelled it, wiped it off and ran his fingers over the soft fabric of the sofa. He played with the handles on a vending machine near the door. "T-A-M... Mom, can you give me a quarter for this? I want to see what comes out."
"No," she answered. "You don't need what's in that machine."
Our final friend was drying her hands. "Mom, you won't tell anyone you brought me in here, will you? Not even your friends, not even Grandma?" he directed.
"Cross my heart, " she promised.
He pulled her down a little closer to him, and although we were already on our way out the door, we heard him whisper loudly to her. "Mom, it's OK if you bring me in here again. Hey, mom, I think I WILL come back in here with you again, you know, just to be sure you're OK and everything. Alright?"
Her soft chuckle was the last thing we heard as the door closed behind us.