Play Nice

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Thanks,
Patricia

Briefly

[This is where the summary would go if I'd bothered to write one.]

« Week 21Aperture »
Paper-thin

The gasping and moaning coming through the wall make the man uncomfortable. He sits in the chair next to the motel bed, back straight, feet planted squarely on the floor. A book lays forgotten on his lap, his reading glasses dangle from his right hand. He frowns and wonders how much longer he’ll have to listen to the noise.

Hearing the excited voices make him wonder about the bed he will be inhabiting that night. He stares critically at the flowered comforter. He’d read once that the first thing you had to do when you entered a hotel room was to take the comforter off the bed; that was the one piece of bedding that didn’t get changed frequently. Right now he isn’t worrying about the comforter. He wonders about the sheets below.

This isn’t a dive motel, but neither is it the Ritz. Signing in he’d seen that there were hourly rates, at the time he hadn’t given it much thought, but now, faced with the reality of slipping between sheets that at some point may have been made sweaty and god knows what else, by total strangers, he wishes he hadn’t worried so much about saving money. He could have afforded a better hotel. He briefly considers going to another, more expensive hotel, but the squeals of the woman reaching her climax derail his line of thinking.

He clutches the book in his lap and tensely waits for the end. The walls must be paper-thin, he thinks. He imagines he can even hear her breathing slowing. Her partner is much quieter and for this the man is grateful.

He stands up and carefully puts the book on the bedside table, his glasses in their case, which he then places in his briefcase. He’s lost count of how many pairs he’s left behind on his travels. So now he makes sure to always put them in his bag whenever he’s not using them.

He steps into the bathroom and gives the hot and cold water knobs equal turns to create a tolerable temperature. As he leans his head down he hears the shower in the next room start up. A giggle, a low murmur makes him realize that the couple in fact isn’t done, they’re merely moving locations. He sighs and straightens up. The bathroom light is quite harsh and, looking in the mirror, he sees that he looks really worn out.

I’m getting old, he thinks. There used to be a time when he could travel weeks straight without showing any signs of wear. Now even 2 day trips seemed to take it out of him. As he listened to the sounds of the man and woman coming through the wall, he contemplated whether or not he should retire. He sits down on the closed toilet, puts his elbows on his knees and covers his face with the palms of his hands.

Suddenly he feels bone tired. He can’t even dredge up an ounce of irritation about having to hear the noise coming from the other room. Let them have their fun, he thinks. Soon enough they’ll realize that there isn’t enough time in life for all that foolishness and the memories of times gone by will make things bearable. Or so he believes. He’s never rented a room by the hour. He’s certainly never used a shower for something other than its intended purpose. He isn’t a man that gives in to regrets so he doesn’t waste any time wondering what his life would have been like if he’d done any of those things.

He also isn’t the kind of man who spends much time feeling sorry for himself, so he stands up and changes into his pajamas. From the bathroom he walks over to his suitcase, takes out his towel, places it very carefully on top of the comforter on the left hand side and walks around the room turning off the lights.

As he passes by the closed curtains he hears the man and woman outside of his motel room. For reasons that he would not be able to name were someone to ask him, he parts the curtains and watches as they walk by. He is shocked to see that the man and woman aren’t a young couple as he’d suspected. Why, they can’t be younger than sixty, he thinks. Confused he lets the curtains close. As he stands in complete darkness he tries to understand what that could possibly mean.

Published 06/29/03 in Writing • | Views: 2292 times | Print

2 Comments & Trackbacks



very cool.  captivating, and thought-provoking.

Posted by Brad C  on  07/01  at  08:58 AM

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