Pressure increased the more I moved. I pressed a hand to my swollen abdomen, feeling the hard shell of my skin stretch to accommodate the swirling gases within.
I shouldn’t have eaten that chili…
When my client offered me some of that evening’s dinner I couldn’t refuse. Not a big fan of beans, I normally would have shunned the steaming pot of chili, but when I looked at her withed face and hopeful eyes I couldn’t say no. As a CNA it’s my job to provide all aide required: hygienic and physical needs, emotional and mental health, medical requirements, meal preparation, housekeeping, etc. One thing not mentioned in the job description was eating whatever they offered. Technically I didn’t HAVE to do anything of the sort, but it’s awfully hard to tell a cute old lady that you’re terrified of her cooking.
Despite her extremely brittle bones, this particular client hobbled to the kitchen and pulled out several cans of chili which I’m sure expired several years previously. She then proceeded to open them and dump the sloppy contents into an overly large pot. Had I known of her intentions I wouldn’t have left her alone to go do laundry, and instead would have stayed in the kitchen to prepare a more desirable meal. I heard my name and immediately stopped folding towels.
“Yes?” I asked, turning the corner to see my client standing proudly by the stove.
My first thought was a bolt of panic that she stood up by herself and moved across the slick linoleum floor, soon followed by a repulsed sensation when the smell of something burning hit my nostrils. Thick steam rose from the pot by her side, mixed with smoke billowing from the burning chards of goo that lay glopped on the stove. She had turned every burner on, and some of the contents lay smoking on the red hot coils.
I rushed forward to guide the old woman away from the fire hazard, then quickly turned everything off, opened a nearby window and scraped the charred bits of food off the stove. Almost afraid of what I would find in the pot, I lifted the lid and saw a bubbling mess of chili that was burnt on the bottom.
“Grab a bowl!”
I pretended not to hear her, and instead offered other meal suggestions, walking to the pantry to see what delights I could tempt her with. Her cupboards were nearly bare. She didn’t eat much, and when she did it was typically something prepackaged. Her effort to make something was obviously a thoughtful gesture that took a considerable amount of effort.
She shook her head and pointed to the cabinet above the sink where the dishes were. “Get yourself a bowl! I already had some.”
I could see by the flaking bits of beans around her mouth that she had indeed already eaten some of her creation.
My mind whirled, trying to think of something, anything to get me out of the situation. The innocent hope in her eyes was too much for my conscience. Scraping off the top, non-burnt part, I ladled the smallest amount possible in a bowl and pretended to eat it. She caught me, however, and demanded that I get more and sit by her. Doing so, I sat down and cringed with every bite. She watched me with eagle eyes until my bowl was empty.
Already I could feel my belly surge with discomfort. The squelching anxiety in my stomach increased as my shift continued. I could feel the pressure building up the more I moved. I only hoped I could relieve myself of this pain before I accompanied my friends to a country dancing event that evening. I had been several times before and thoroughly enjoyed it, but tonight I didn’t feel like going. If I didn’t win this internal battle before stepping on that dance floor, then there was no way I would go.
By the time my friends came to get me I started to feel a bit better. Several trips to the bathroom reassured me that the danger was over and I could enjoy myself without fear of explosion.
“I’m good now,” I mused, rubbing my belly soothingly.
I spoke too soon.
No sooner had the first dance begun when my abdomen began to squirm. Beads of sweat gathered around my forehead with the effort to hold it in. I excused myself several times to relieve the pressure outside, wait around for a bit, and then go back in as though nothing was wrong. When asked, I pretended that I was “just too hot,” and spent most of the evening walking back and forth along a nearby street, trying my hardest to escape the smell.
It was my favorite line dance. I don’t know very many of them, and when I do I can’t help but join in. And this one happened to be particularly vigorous. With every jump I felt the pressure build and build. I didn’t want to leave the song halfway through, so I gritted my teeth and carried on, spinning and jumping along with everyone else. Tears formulated in my eyes as the pain grew more and more intense. At last the song ended and I immediately headed towards the exit, already feeling an explosion begin to escape.
Hurry, hurry, hurry…
A strong hand wrapped around my wrist and jerked me backwards, spinning me hard into someone’s chest. Both the surprise and the sharp impact was too much for my stomach. An unparalleled fart exploded from my behind. Never in my life have I expelled such a powerful mass of putrid air. It burst from me like a bomb. The sound was like a thousand whoopie cushions going off at once, and the smell was beyond putrid. Thick and fetid, the air waved with the sudden release of gas.
I couldn’t breathe. There I was, chest to chest with some random stranger, a man I’d never seen before, motionless with the knowledge that I just farted all over him. He also didn’t move, but just stood there frozen with a very concerned look on his face. Obviously he wasn’t expecting that when he spun me into him. I could see his eyes begin to water as the foul air stung them. He blinked rapidly a few times, still silent.
“I… am SO sorry!” Excuses fell off my tongue as I tried to explain myself, starting with my job and trying to describe the circumstance.
He didn’t say a word through my story. He just silently started dancing, twirling me gingerly onto the dance floor. The spinning wafted the nasty air around, making other couples uncomfortable.
“What’s that smell?” I heard one nearby girl ask. Her face was contorted into a horrified expression as she sniffed closer to me.
I scrunched up my nose as well and pretended that I was just as confused by the horrid smell as she was. I don’t think she bought my act, because she kept giving me concerned looks throughout the rest of the evening.
Longest dance of my life. My silent partner never uttered a sound. He just spun me with as much caution he would a time bomb. I felt all my pride seep through the floorboards. He didn’t seem to care about my story, and never asked me to dance again.
Although horribly embarrassing, I did feel much better after that massive fart. I then couldn’t decide whether to stay and really have fun now, or leave because that experience would scar me forever. I ended up staying until the place closed, and noticed that that poor unfortunate man left right after our dance. Probably to go home and shower.
Next time I see beans I’m going to pretend I’m allergic. Never again.