Michelle’s home features an outhouse toilet. After the sun sets large rats run under its door and scurry on its floor, so at night Michelle goes to the bathroom in a bucket in the corner of her one-room home. To avoid any embarrassing situations while I slept at her home, we used the outhouse toilet as much as we could.
I awoke at 2 a.m. Christmas night with the feeling that my stomach was on fire. I needed go to the bathroom, and then it occurred to me that I had no convenient place to go. If I went to the outhouse toilet, it was guaranteed that I’d have to fight off rats, and it wouldn’t be pleasant for me to unleash a fury into Michelle’s bucket in the corner of Michelle’s bedroom while Michelle slept twelve feet away. I lay in bed and thought about what to do. I tried to ignore the pain until morning when I could use the outhouse, but I could not. I needed to go to the bathroom.
At 3 a.m. I finally decided to use Michelle’s bucket. “Hey,” I whispered into her ear, “I don’t feel well and I need to use the bathroom. Is it O.K. if use your po?”
“Of course,” she said sleepily.
“I’m sorry,” I said. I felt I needed to apologize for what I was about to do. “Don’t look up from your pillow and try not to hear me.”
I crept out of bed using my cell phone as a flashlight. My stomach was raging. While I sat on Michelle’s bucket and made noises that no girlfriend should ever have to hear, she lay still on her bed. When I finished, I stood up with my cell phone and took a deep breath. Then I immediately needed to vomit. I turned around, ripped open the lid of the bucket again and retched violently, my stomach heaving in pain. Michelle raised her head to see her boyfriend on his knees in his boxers destroying her chamber pot, all illuminated by the blue glow of a cell phone. Afterwards I climbed back into bed, got into the fetal position, and moaned softly. I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach by a fist on fire.
The next morning Michelle still loved me. In fact, it’s been more than a month since her well water nearly made me unload my innards into her chamber pot, and Michelle still loves me. Our relationship, which has never left the lands of Madagascar, has endured many unromantic experiences in this country. Strangely enough, I think this endurance has made for the most romantic relationship I’ve been in.