If I tell you this story, you’re might not believe me. It’s one of those stories that only happens in movies (coincidentally, where my story takes place) – a story that’s too ludicrous to happen in real life. It makes me sound stupid, and it makes my friends seem careless – things that, in all honesty, we are not. It truly was one of the strangest, most bizarre few hours of my life. But I survived. I’m even better off because of it. So I’ll tell you the story.

Like any normal person, I enjoy going to the cinema. The unparalleled feeling of sinking into those red, comfy chairs, diving your hand into your tub of salty popcorn and being lost in the exciting world of movies is one that my friends and I love. The second Hunger Games movie had just come out, and because I was a teenaged girl who had read the books, I was kind of obliged to invite my friends and go and see it. We arranged a time, and when we all met at the cinema, armed with packets of M & Ms, maltesers and jelly snakes, hurried into the darkened room, excited for the following few hours of escapism and fantasy.

We sat down and took up half the back row. Stupidly, we had opened our bags of lollies prior to entering the cinema, so as the movie began, we were only left with a quarter of what we had originally planned to eat during the movie. But I’m not going to lie – we do that every time. Ah, the thrill of the cinema! As the very first scene began, I got the most irritating feeling one can ever have when watching a film. I needed to go to the bathroom. Groaning inwardly, I tried to quietly exit the cinema, figuring that the sooner I went, the sooner I could go back and enjoy the movie. The female toilets were ages away, so I ducked into the disabled toilet close by. There weren’t any grandparents watching The Hunger Games, were there? And I wouldn’t take long – I planned on rushing back into the cinema the minute I was done. Little did I realise, however, the disabled bathroom would be out of use for quite some time.

I dried my hands and quickly went to unlock the door, but it didn’t budge. I tried again, pulling harder this time, but it still didn’t move. I tried again and again, each time attacking the lock at a different angle, but it simply refused to dislodge. By this time, I had already missed the first ten minutes of the movie, so naturally, I was getting a little disgruntled. I tried for another five minutes, twisting it various ways and jabbing at it from the side, but it continued to be stubborn and just stayed at it was. I remembered that my phone was in my pocket, and pulled it out. Even though all my friends in the cinema had their phones off, I could try ringing someone else. I turned it on, and but soon found out that I had no service. Let me tell you, when you’re in this sort of situation in real life, everything really does go wrong. The movies do not lie. Eventually, I slumped to the floor and gave up, resigning to the fact that I would be spending the remainder of the movie in the disabled bathroom.

Time seemed to pass in slow-motion. As I sat in silence on the floor, I kept checking my phone, assuming ten minutes had gone by. I was wrong. Only three had. Nevertheless, I did a lot of things in that disabled toilet. I contemplated the meaning of life. I came up with that thesis I was meaning to write for my English essay. I tried to figure out if you can day-dream at night. I even planned my future wedding. In truth, I actually got a lot of important stuff done in that disabled toilet, but it didn’t stop me from wanting to get out of there.

Just as I was starting to lose all hope of human existence and considering my possible impending death (being trapped in a disabled bathroom makes you kind of dramatic, okay?), I heard a little knock on the door, followed by a soft, frail voice that said “Hello? Is anyone in there?”. Hallelujah! A little old lady had come to save me!

“Yes! I’m in here! I’ve been locked in this bathroom for ages now” I replied.

“That’s not very nice. Who did that to you?” the lady asked, shocked.

“I don’t know, but would you mind getting someone to come and unlock the door?” I asked desperately.

“Of course. Just wait a minute,” the lady said, and promptly tottered off to find a cleaner.

I ended up waiting for quite a bit longer than a minute, because, as I had forgotten in my fit of excitement, old ladies aren’t the fastest people in the world, but soon, someone much stronger than me told me to stand back and began pushing on the door. It opened almost immediately, and I flung myself out of the bathroom, grateful for the smell of popcorn over toilet cleaner. I thanked the lady and the cleaner, and quickly went home, swearing never to enter another disabled bathroom again.

So there you have it. My story of survival. I know I wasn’t in any real danger, and I know that help was just around the corner, but I honestly thought that if I didn’t get out of there soon, I was going to die. When I tell people that story, they ask me if it changed me as a person. They expect me to say no, but instead, I tell them of course I have! My life has improved because of that incident. Do you want to know why? Because now I get all my movie tickets for free!

Charlotte Biggins
Years 9&10
Balmain Secondary College