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That Bloody Ride

Challenge #3 The Awkward Elevator

By Oneg In The ArcticPublished 9 months ago Updated 9 months ago 5 min read
Top Story - August 2023
Image by Emily Jay

As part of James & Oneg’s Summer Writing Challenge Extravaganza, we present to you the Awkward Elevator Challenge!

The challenge is to write about a time you did something embarrassing (or make it up), and the person that saw it happen, suddenly gets in an elevator with you shortly after.

There is no time or word count limit.

And remember, make sure you tag some folks to participate, and share the original challenge post linked above in your entries.

There are these tricks that tend to remain taboo. If you’ve ever menstruated, or know someone close who has, you might have learned these tricks. They’re not shared out loud often, but sometimes, in the late-night-anxiety-filled text message, the harsh realities are revealed.

Unfortunately, that didn’t help me today.

There was no saviour for my horror, no hero for my self esteem. Just the crimson beginnings of something I’d probably play repeatedly in my head for the next twenty years.

I had just boarded the bus and grabbed that last remaining empty seat when the first cramp hit. It wasn’t a kicker, but it definitely made me internally groan. I knew I was due to start my period soon, but my alarm hadn’t woken me up this morning and the whole day was constantly in delay. I just couldn’t seem to catch up to this shitty Tuesday.

Hopefully, I would be able to make it home without any accidents and just crumble under my thick comforter with some chocolate covered pretzels and binge watch some K-drama.

Usually I’d start wearing a liner a day or two before my period, but my mental list of to-do’s was getting too full. Which meant I forgot to pick up another box on my way home yesterday. Along with those pretzels. My stomach groaned along with me, awkwardly and externally this time. That resulted in some side-eye from my bus buddy here.

Trying not to eye them up too much, I scoffed internally at the expensive Lululemon gear, topped with some serious bling and a rosy pink purse that probably stashed a pad I could use.

“Don’t think about it, don’t think about it.” I was riding bare style and the cramps were only mocking me as the bus stopped at yet another small street where no-one was waiting. I was getting impatient. My leg started bouncing up and down, my fingers drumming on my knee, because guess what else I forgot this morning? My earphones. I didn’t even have music to try and calm the shit storm brewing inside me.

Speaking of shit, that first-day-period shit was definitely forming. Grabbing a full pita of shawarma with those greasy fries from the food truck by my work was another tactless event that happened today; thanks to me forgetting my prepacked lunch. And where did I leave my prepacked lunch? On the counter, in front of my sleepy face. I think there’s some expression for this ridiculousness, something like “have eyes but doesn’t see?”

The bus lurched forward again, and with it my intestines, liver, appendix, kidneys, whatever else I had in there that my uterus was kicking at. Another groan, another side-eye from Ms. Perfect next to me. Gosh, can I be home already?

The next stop was announced, and I let out a sigh of relief, realizing that I was almost at my apartment; I never felt so grateful for that robotic bus lady voice. “Bless your wires, you robotic lady angel!”

But it was when I stood up way too fast and early to wait by the doors that I felt that sinking feeling. That drop in the pit of my stomach. The heat between my thighs. The racing beat of my heart as I felt the full force of my period hit. “Oh no.”

Trick number two that I forgot about, always bring a sweater to wrap around your waist in case of accident. And I wore a t-shirt. A stupid, light coloured, Tom & Jerry graphic t-shirt. Idiot.

I clutched the yellow pole by the bus doors until my knuckles were white and my palm hurt, praying that it wasn’t that bad. But Mother Nature must have been cross with me for not separating my recycling properly last week and thought this was a great time for revenge.

Ms. Lulu strolled up behind me as the bus halted to a stop, and I could almost inhale her expensive perfume scent over my panic.

“You left a little something back there.”

I turned my gaze back to where I had sat and contrasting brilliantly against the bright blue fabric was a beauty of a red, blobby, spot.

The colour drained from my face (obviously left in my pants and on the bus) at the realization of the dreaded leakage. It was bad.

The bus doors swung open, I bolted out awkwardly walking as fast as I could towards my apartment complex, thighs and buttocks squeezing together, trying to deter further bloodshed. But who was I trying to kid? My bookbag thunked against my butt with every step, and who knew what was visible from behind at this point.

I reached the elevators and anxiously smashed the silver button at least eight times as I prayed for one thing to go right today. Thankfully the elevator doors slid open welcomingly only a few seconds later. I shuffled in, trying to keep my legs together and instantly spun around so my backside was facing the elevator wall.

Just as the doors were about to close, a manicured hand reached across and triggered the sensors. The door reopened like a show curtain announcing Ms. Perfect Lemonbutt’s entrance, who gracefully floated into the elevator. “I’m on the sixth floor, if you could hit the button for me, please.”

At this point, I had no shred of dignity or hope left, so with a pale face and shaky finger, I pressed the button and whispered, “oh haha, me too.”

By Arisa Chattasa on Unsplash

I decided to write this story because it is something that is quite often a reality, and there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed about, as embarrassing as it may feel. Menstruation is a normal and common human experience, yet it is not talked about openly enough. Menstruators need to stick together and support one another. Because we’ve all be there, in some form or another.

Although thankfully, I haven’t been unlucky enough to leak and be caught, I have had times where the bloody stain is visible. Luckily, I was already at a place (like home or a friend’s house) where I could change and deal with the situation more adequately.

The truth is, is that menstruation is uncomfortable and inconvenient. I have yet to meet someone who enjoys it. But we try to look out for each other. And always carry some backup supplies in case you get a surprise! And if you do happen to come across that birthday red surprise, it ain’t the end of the world. Hopefully someone will have your back, and if not, you are still an awesome and normal person and no one is going to actually judge you.


About the Creator

Oneg In The Arctic

A storyteller and poet of arctic adventures, good food, identity, mental health, and more.

Co-founder of Queer Vocal Voices

Some other rad writers to check out:

James ❄️ TheDaniWriter ❄️ Melissa

RiverJoy ❄️ J. Delaney-Howe ❄️

Water is Life ✊

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  2. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  3. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (16)

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  • Naveed Ahmed Syed9 months ago

    Embracing life's awkward moments and supporting each other through them brings us closer as a community. 💪🌟

  • Lamar Wiggins9 months ago

    Omg! And lol. With a touch of humor, this unfortunate account was very well told. I felt I was right there with you routing for us to get home safely before anything else happened. Us humans are great at staring and making each other uncomfortable, but like you said, it’s a bodily function that happens. Thank you for sharing such a vulnerable experience and congrats!

  • Melissa Ingoldsby9 months ago

    Congratulations my friend ❤️

  • Aksaya Bandodker9 months ago

    nice story! Congratulations!!

  • Congratulations on your Top Story! The lovely course of nature that is menstruation. I have gotten to the point I always have pads in my bag even when I am not supposed to start my period soon. The days I am out of town are the worst and I only hope that my flow behaves out in public. But I know others have it worse than me and have had horrible period stories. I hope you at least had someone better than Ms. Perfect in your corner.

  • Paul Stewart9 months ago

    I am sorry; I laughed at some of this. I cringed too, and felt so bad for you/the narrator the whole time. It was masterfully told. I wish there weren't so much shame and stigma attached to normal bodily functions, cycles, and fluids. I love how the fancy leggings lady was a bad egg. I shall take part in these shenanigans. Whether it's based on one of the many tales of embarrassment from the great annuls of Paul, something completely made up, or a merging of both (it'll be a merging of both), we shall see... Well done on Top Story for this - hopefully, that helps shine a spotlight on this subject matter.

  • Hannah Moore9 months ago

    Brilliant. I wrote a story a few months back - - I wish Ms Perfect could read.

  • Judey Kalchik 9 months ago

    Yes- and thank you for demonstrating that this can happen and we can live to tell the tale!

  • Lululemon lady has no empathy at all! I bet she's a sociopath! During my teenage years, I had very heavy flow and I would have at least 2 to 3 accidents every month. This is because some teachers just won't let us go to the toilet. My uniform was light blue so it was very obvious if I had a leakage. So after my accident, they would allow me to use the toilet. I would then try my best to scrub it off using tissues. Thank God I was in an all girls school!

  • Leslie Writes9 months ago

    That was so tense with great comic relief too! I can feel their embarrassment. How could Lululemon be so cold?! And you’re right, it’s important to normalize this normal body function. 👏 💖

  • Cathy holmes9 months ago

    Haha. And eeek! Great story. Well done

  • Tiffany Gordon 9 months ago

    Phenomenal writing! I felt for you...folks are a trip. She could have tried to help a fellow menstruator out! Great work!

  • Is it to soon to refer to this as a period dramedy? Delightfully well-written with a word of encouragement & balm to self-esteem.

  • Melissa Ingoldsby9 months ago

    I love your down to earth, relatable and truly honest narrative, my friend. Hugs for this!! Thank you for sharing, it helps me when these things happen as well when I get the unexpected Aunt Flo lol

  • Babs Iverson9 months ago

    Oneg, your fabulously told story with a lot of superb lines was so relatable to past memories. Loving it!!!♥️♥️💕

  • James U. Rizzi9 months ago

    Lol at this line. “Bless your wires, you robotic lady angel!” You really captured that very real human moment when all bets are off and survival mode is engaged so well written and perfectly paced. The last line was gold as well the embarrassment always seems to compound

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