Someone stole the steak. That wasn’t right. First, it arrived in glistening plastic wrap with a plate full of food. And then? It vanished.
It seems par for the course in this crappy hotel room. It has a cubby hole in the vaulted wall and a double desk crammed into the space. After the bed, there isn’t much space left over.
You have to laugh. The hotel, quaintly picturesque from the outside, reveals this crappy old room again. But it’s not a totally bad room. You can live with it for a little bit.
Check this out. You’ve got a roommate. Maybe he stole the steak. Maybe it was Liz at the foot of the stairs, who discussed computers enthusiastically with you. But no, she seemed genuinely interested, and the entire party in the ballroom downstairs was quite supportive.
Then you see her picture. This girl you knew… when? It was the last time you were here. You’d forgotten it, like a dream. But it comes back to you now. You said goodbye to her on the balcony of the hotel. You loved her then, and you love dreaming her memory now from this photo.
You couldn’t help but leave her, and it was okay. It had something to do with the atomic bomb you worked on, living in this coastal paradise, enjoying the weather, building the bomb with the professor and the genius. Times were simpler then, in the days of the bomb.
But that was years ago, back when you and Joe Pesci stopped in the street to discuss his newspaper: a touching moment. Or the time you and Dave joked about the Presidio but you were nowhere near. And the car disappeared, but you carried it on piggyback. Those were good times.
This hotel. It’s different from the house. The house has hidden levels, too. Places you have trouble finding again. You find a door to it from somewhere else every now and then, from another location you discover which has a connection to a distant room in the house. Sometimes you only realize later that two unrelated settings are connected by doorways to the house.
Sometimes you find yourself in a room in the house for which you can find no door. You know you’re in the house, but you can’t get clear on how the room connects to anything else.
The door in the fire room leads downstairs through a claustrophobic’s nightmare, but the walls don’t close in. They lead to the basement. It’s hidden, but you get there more than once. It’s just the strange location, the out of the way spot, the featureless hallway with the closet door that masks the fire room.
You might also like Three Years Dreaming, now available as a 148-page paperback and Kindle book.