‘Move round, face the window. Ok. Pull your knickers down.’
Lula looks at me aghast: ’But mummy people are watching.’
I glance around. ‘They’re all sleeping. No one will see.’
John shakes his head at me, ‘This is all going to go wrong.’
‘Well the only other option is she wees on me. Given that, I’d rather she tried to wee in the bottle.’
‘It’s going to go all over the bus,’ John warns handing me a Tropicana bottle that he’s hacked the top off with a penknife. Very Maguiver.
Lula crouches in the gap where our feet and bags are. I position the bottle underneath her.
‘I can’t hold it anymore,’ she shrieks.
‘Ok go!’ I say as though it’s the start of a steeplechase.
A slick of liquid starts to cascade down the aisle. The bottle isn’t filling.
‘Mummy my feet are wet,’ Lula says from her crouching position amongst the bags.
‘It’s running down the aisle.’ John hisses.
‘No one will notice,’ I hiss back.
Lula pops up to standing. ‘My DRESS IS ALL WET,’ she yells.
(five minutes go by)
‘Mummy. I need another wee.’
My eyes are shut. I’m trying to sleep. ‘Hold it,’ I murmur menacingly.
‘I can’t hold it,’ she wines pitifully.
I open my eyes. My voice is steely, ‘Hold it.’
‘I can’t,’ Lula’s voice is panicky.
‘Well you have to. There’s no loo on this bus and we’re not doing the bottle thing again.‘
(sixty seconds go by).
‘I’m leaking.’ She announces.
She is sitting on my lap.
I poke John. Now my voice is panicky too. ‘John, wake up. She needs another wee.’
He opens one eye. ‘She isn’t having another wee. She will have to hold it.’
‘Can’t hold it.’ Lula tells him straight.
I look at John. ‘We’ll have to use the bottle again.’
‘Have you got a better idea?’
I think he’d rather she used me as a nappy but I’ve already shoved her off my lap and grabbed the bottle.
‘Right, crouch down again.’
‘Hold it in the right place this time mummy.’
I am not sure what the right place is. I thought I had it right the first time. ‘Ok. Wee,’ I say.
We hear the sound of tinkling liquid hitting plastic. Result.
‘I’m finished,’ Lula announces.
I hold up the bottle. Three millilitres more and we’d have been in trouble.
‘What are you going to put it in?’ He asks as though I’m on my own on this one. He looks around then hands me another bottle, ‘You could decant it into this.’
Why am I suddenly having to do all the danger work? So much for Mcguiver. I rest the lip of the wee bottle against the empty bottle. It shakes. I feel like the bomb disposal guy in the Hurt Locker.
‘Just do it in one swift move,’ John urges.
I contemplate how this is going to end. 297ml of warm urine running over my hands and feet.
‘I’m not sure this is a good idea. My hand’s jolting. It’ll go everywhere.’
‘Well what are you going to do?’
I notice the continued use of the second person singular rather than the first person plural in this situation.
‘I guess I will just hold it until we get there.’ (unlike Lula)
(fifteen minutes later)
I am clutching the now cooling wee bottle.
I turn to John.
‘Apple juice darling?’