A loud crack issued from the bathroom, followed by a muffled thud.
“Richard, are you all right?” I asked rushing toward the bathroom.
“That’s gonna leave a mark,” he said rubbing his backside.
“I was getting ready to take a shower and sat on the toilet to unlace my shoes,” he said looking at the welts forming on the back his legs. “When I bent over, the toilet seat snapped in two.”
“That looks horrible, I’ll call the landlord and ask him to deliver a new seat.”
“No, Fannie, I’d rather just go down to the hardware store and pick up a new one.”
“Richard, this seat has to be at least 35 to 40-years-old, I’m sure this happens all the time.”
“No, we’re going to get a new one after I shower.”
Thirty minutes later we walked down the toilet aisle. Oblong, round, and horseshoe shaped seats with colors ranging from red to black and white hung on the thirty foot long display.
We stood in the aisle looking up at the display.
“Do you see one that matches our toilet?” Richard asked studying the display.
“No, what do you want to do?”
A store employee approached us. “Do you need some help?”
“Yes, our toilet seat failed this morning and we need to get a replacement,” I said.
“What color is the existing toilet?”
“I would recommend you get a contrasting color, such as black, white or gray. Otherwise the seat will clash and you’ll hate it.”
Richard and I looked at each other.
“What’s on sale?” I asked.
“The sale items are at the end of the aisle,” she said guiding us.
“Fannie, look they have a white seat for only four dollars,” Richard said, grabbing a box from the stack.
Three weeks later my parents stopped by for a visit.
“Fannie, the Memorial Day traffic was terrible, can I use your bathroom?” my father asked.
“Of course, Dad.”
One minute later, the telltale crack reverberated throughout the apartment followed by a slew of expletives not fit to print.
Using masking tape, Richard and my father triaged the toilet seat until we could get to the hardware store.
Standing in the toilet display aisle, the four of us searched for a new seat.
“Fannie, Richard, I found a lovely seat for only fifteen dollars. That should do the trick,” my mother said holding up a two-tone gray and black speckled seat. “And it should last a lot longer than your previous seat.”
The trees next to our apartment turned a flaming red and gold. A crisp, damp chill clung to the morning air. Two orange cats perched in the living room window chasing a fly when we walked into the apartment after our run.
“Richard, I’m going to take the first shower.”
The cats followed me into the bathroom. Wicket leaped onto the toilet seat followed by Sadie. Turning on the water, they watched the steam rise from the faucet. The fly joined us in the bathroom. Two orange heads pivoted as one.
The fly circled the room twice landing on the shower curtain. When I closed the shower curtain, the fly flew straight above the cats. Wicket leaped into the air and caught it in his mouth landing back on the toilet seat with a thud followed by the crack. Wicket let go of the fly and the two cats raced from the bathroom.
“Fannie, are you okay?” Richard asked tripping over the cats on his way to the bathroom.
“I’m okay, but we need another toilet seat,” I said laughing.
“I bought some duct tape yesterday. That should hold it together until we can get another one.”
“Can I just call the landlord?”
Richard’s skilled hands wound the duct tape over the broken seat. “Look, good as new.”
“How can you say that with a straight face?” I asked laughing at the now designer seat.
“Trust me, the duct tape will hold,” Richard said winking.
Two days later, my sister, Eleanor visited. “Love what you’ve done with the toilet seat, Richard. I think you should autograph it.”
The next day we took the familiar stroll to the toilet display aisle. At the head of the aisle on a black velvet background with jewelry display lights beaming on it, hung a white opalescent toilet seat. Below it, a placard listed the price as $32.
We stood mesmerized.
“What do you think, should we spent that much money?” I asked watching the ever changing sheen on its smooth surface.
“At that price, it should last until we move or die, whichever comes first,” Richard said taking a box from the stock below. “We can’t go wrong.”
Rushing home with our new treasure we raced up the stairs to our apartment. Richard removed the duct taped designer seat from the toilet. I opened the box and removed the plastic wrap. Handing him the toilet seat, we both froze.
“That’s a problem,” I said looking at the oblong seat.
“Fannie, think of it this way, it will be much more comfortable than the old round seat.”
“Well, I guess we can tell my family we are starting an new fashion trend in bathroom decorating.”
“That’s the spirit.”
Eight years later we purchased our home. On moving day, I polished the opalescent throne for the last time. Richard and I watched as the seat shimmered in the light.
“I guess you were right when you said it would last until we moved,” I said.
Putting his arm around my shoulders Richard said, “It just goes to show you, you get what you pay for.”