Bathroom Pass

By Mazzer D'Orazio

December 19, 2022

Bathroom Pass

A freshman appears in my doorway, late for class again, extending an orange traffic cone. She proclaims: “I found it in a ditch!”

This is the blessed randomness of a high school creative writing class. The students’ hair colors are a rotating gradient of pinks, purples, and blues. At any given moment we could make a rainbow. When thirty percent of your face is covered, your hair color matters thirty percent more.

My father recently griped to me on the phone about the teenager next door, how her hair was a different color every week. I think I am closer--both in age and in opinions on neon electric Manic Panic--to my students.

The girl asks me for a Sharpie and writes BATHROOM PASS in all caps, along with Room 206 and a peace sign. The rest of them eye me suspiciously, awaiting my reaction. I size up the cone as if it’s a brand new student. They know my threshold for reserving judgments is Nick Carraway-level high.

“Class,” I say. “Meet your new bathroom pass.”

This is our little bit of personality in a string of years without one. This is our pièce de ré·sis·tance. This is the Google Doc of poems we will never show our parents. This is the flickering fluorescent light of our humanity, still more on than off.

I picture them leaving my classroom, carrying it down the hallway like a baton. I imagine the laughing conversations they’ll have in the bathroom, the beautiful unpredictability of togetherness.


Mazzer D’Orazio is a writer, teacher, and mom of two living in Fairfax, Virginia. She has published some of her work in The RumpusScary MommyYour Impossible Voice, and Adventure Cycling. and you can find more of her work here.


Image by Vitaly Kushnir courtesy of Pexels

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