The forceful gust was greatly unexpected and thus escaped both violently and noisily. I stood at the urinal relieved, and alarmed. The duration and immediacy of stomach turning scent were inhuman. As the last piercing, eye stinging whine escaped I heard the recognizable creak of the bathroom door opening. Now sheepishly residing in my own stench, I wondered how much the person had heard. If they had heard the entire thing, how deeply disturbed were they? It was an incredibly sobering moment.
It’s certainly always possible to blame a venomous fume on the stalls. Those stalls could take it. They were well equipped to be shamed, to neutralize the transcendent humiliation. There was always plausible deniability. It all came down to what the hell he had heard. Since I was the only one in the bathroom, if he had heard the rebel yell and smelled the ghastly aroma, only one conclusion could be drawn. The echo of the footsteps was agonizing. A glaze had gathered on my forehead.
As the person engaged the urinal, I turned to realize it was the CEO of the company. Someone, whom I had rarely engaged with, was now standing beside me, drenched in the sour, stagnant air. Death sentence. There was nothing I could say to excuse this. It had exceeded offensive, and was bordering on abusive. Then words. “Angry lunch today eh?” He had heard the whole thing. I somberly agreed that it was in fact an angry lunch that day, having nothing else to add. A resounding silence followed that still haunts me to this day.