Edith had to go pee. Right. Now. She’d had to go since about five minutes after their last pit stop. Edith was incredibly determined to make it to their next planned stop without asking for the bathroom. She knew it was a hassle for Mom and Dad to make another stop and have to unbuckle her little brother from his wheelchair. She bit her lip and looked out over the landscape. She could’ve sworn they’d crossed the border over to Utah by now, but she hadn’t seen any signs. She longingly looked at the gas station as they drove by, wishing Dad would need to stop and buy another pack of smokes. Edith adjusted her legs, trying not to draw attention from her three siblings.
Her older brother, Elias, pushed up his red wire-framed glasses and scrunched up his nose as he stared intently at his Gameboy Advance. It was one of those cool flip-up “SP” ones; Mom and Dad had just bought it for him for his 14th birthday. Edith was jealous; she was stuck with Eli’s hand-me-down old school Gameboy and Pokemon Blue. Eli had saved up his allowance to buy Pokemon Sapphire, which looked amazing on that little back-lit screen. Edith tried to focus on her jealousy instead of her desperate urge to pee, but it wasn’t working very well. She quickly pressed her legs together and tightened her hold. Edith winced, realizing she might not make it much longer.
“Daddy!” Edith’s younger sister, Esther, called from the back seat of the van.
“What is it, pumpkin?”
“Daddy I need to go pee,” Esther sang the word ‘pee’ like she was auditioning for a musical. It was like the eight-year-old was expecting woodland creatures to carry her off to the toilet at the drop of a hat.
“Can you hold it, princess? We just passed a gas station, but we can pull over as soon as another one comes along.”
“I can hold it for a while,” Esther reassured their dad.
Edith, on the other hand, was bursting. She was jiggling her legs, doing a kind of seated potty dance.
“Can you stop that for, like five seconds?! Please?! I’m trying to concentrate,” Elias barked.
Edith crossed one leg over the other, trying not to bounce too much. She felt a tiny stream of pee escape and drip into her Paul Frank panties, but quickly plugged the flow. She stuck her hand between her legs and held herself. Edith was thankful that Elias wasn’t paying close enough attention to realize how desperate she was. On their last family road trip, before their youngest brother Ezra was born, Elias had taunted Edith the whole trip. Every time she needed to go to the bathroom he told her to think about waterfalls and made gushing and spurting sounds with his mouth. She peed her pants only twice the whole trip, but Elias never let her live it down. Edith’s bladder had become stronger than it was when she was five, going on six. Now at eleven, almost twelve, she felt like she was grown enough to handle holding it. And she wouldn’t let Elias win this one. Another spurt erupted from her urethra, dampening her panties and possibly her embroidered denim shorts. Edith was afraid to check.
“Daddy! Oh my gosh, I see a gas station!” Esther squealed with joy from the back seat.
Ezra, who had been quiet for a while, let out a goofy laugh.
“Perfect timing,” Dad said, “I’m ready to stretch my legs.”
Edith squeezed her quivering legs together and leaned forward. It was about time; she wasn’t sure how much longer she could hold it for.
Dad pulled into the gas station and unlocked the van. Esther flung open the sliding door and ran, holding herself, for the gas station door. Elias closed his Gameboy and shoved it into his backpack. “I gotta go too,” he said, running after his youngest sister.
“Edie, would you help me with Ezra?” Mom asked.
“Um,” Edith squeaked, pressing hard on her urethra, unsure if she could even get up without letting loose.
“It’ll only take a minute, hun,” Mom reassured her.
“Mom, I really need to-”
“Can you unbuckle him and I’ll unload the wheelchair?”
Edith cautiously got up from her seat, being very careful not to disturb her too-full bladder. She could feel the pressure as she changed positions and slipped into the back seat. Her five-year-old brother stared off in the distance, seemingly unaware of the world around him. He smiled and waved his arms as if he were conducting an orchestra. Edith wondered for a moment what Ezra would be like without cerebral palsy. She unbuckled him from the wheelchair car seat contraption that was especially built for the family’s van and Mom lowered him and his chair down the ramp. Edith was still trying to disguise her potty dance, but failing terribly. Mom wasn’t paying any attention, but if she had been, she would’ve shook her head and told Edith to just go.
From the corner of her eye, she could see her little sister running back to the car, holding a giant bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. They were Dad’s favourite and she’d suckered him into buying a bag for her. Edith sighed; she was a little jealous, but at least the bathroom was free. She slowly headed towards the gas station bathrooms, every few steps having to squeeze herself. A few tiny drips of pee made their way down her leg, but nothing drastic enough for anyone to notice.
When she finally made it to the bathroom door, she felt like she’d finally found her oasis. Edith let out a giant sigh and tried for the door. It didn’t budge. She tried again.
“Hey! I’m peeing here!” Elias bellowed.
“Can I not just use the bathroom in peace?!”
“Eli- I-I really need to go… can you please…”
“Seriously, can you give me a damn minute?!”
Edith could hear the sound of a fast, hard stream and it made her even more desperate. She was ready to let go, but she couldn’t. She could hear that he had finished and had flushed, but he was taking his sweet time washing his hands. “Eli! Please! I really, really, really need to go!”
A loud groan came from inside the bathroom. “I’m almost done, for god’s sake!”
Edith banged on the door again, “Hurry!” she shouted in a voice that was almost unrecognizably desperate. She was hopping and dancing, trying to keep it all in. None of it was working. She felt a leak and held herself tighter. Moving around wasn’t helping, but standing still was next to impossible. She tried to hold her breath and close her eyes. She thought about the last time she’d been in this much trouble.
During Spring Break, she went on a Girl Guides camping trip and had drank almost a whole two-liter cola as a dare from another girl in her cabin. She didn’t have time to use the toilets before they left camp. Edith had to hold all that soda for what felt like an hour on the bus. Thankfully, the girl sitting next to her also needed to use the bathroom and they helped each other through the situation by distracting one another. Edith made the mistake of making her partner laugh, though, which ended in her bus mate losing control before they got back home. Edith still felt bad about that whole scenario. The girl who wet herself never came back to Guides.
Edith knocked on the door again. “Elias! I-I have to go really b-badly! Please… let me go pee!”
She heard the sink and Elias pushed the door open. “God, you’re so impatient!” he grumbled.
Edith gave him a half smile and let herself into the dirty bathroom. She didn’t want to sit on the seat, but she had no choice. Time was running out. Another tiny trickle escaped into her already soaked panties. She pulled down her shorts with some difficulty and sat down on the grimy toilet seat, feeling a hard rush of urine… fill her underwear. Edith gasped, realizing her mistake. There was no going back now. The Paul Frank monkey on the front of her panties was completely soaked through and she could feel pee sticking to her hot skin. She looked down at her shorts and realized that they were much wetter than expected. A large wet spot had gathered at the crotch and backside of her shorts. She swore she’d held most of it in! Edith wanted to cry. She couldn’t go back to the car with wet shorts. Her heart was throbbing with anxiety. She finished peeing and went to the sink, trying to wash the urine out of her panties and shorts. The water was just making everything worse. She tried to blow dry her clothes in the push-button hand dryer, but it barely worked. Tears streamed down Edith’s face. She would never hear the end of this from Elias and Esther.
She pulled on her soaking panties and drenched denim shorts and made her way back to the car.
“Edie, honey, are you okay?” Mom asked.
Edith shook her head. “I… I had an accident,” she whispered.
“We’ve got some clean clothes for you in the back of the car,” Mom replied. “Your brother and sister don’t even have to know.” She handed Edith a backpack and sent her back to the bathroom. But before she could wander off, she heard Elias snickering.
“Ha! Did you pee your pants, Edie? That’s hilarious!” he laughed.
Esther rolled down the window of the front seat. “Oh my gosh, you peed your pants?! Are you, like five?!” Esther giggled mercilessly.
Edith’s lip quivered. She wanted to run away and cry, but she just stood there, trying to cover her soaked jeans.