She’s staying at the only good hotel in town, a place I’ve never been, and giving a paper, whatever that means, and wants to see me while she’s here. We’ve never met, but I know things about her I would never ask anyone else. Not sexual, not all of them. She knows me from a very good picture of me and I know her from a picture of her, how good I don’t know yet. On the drive over I try to decide whatever I can say to her. We don’t want to change our lives, either of us, at least not as involves the other. And some of the words we use online I never say out loud. I wish I could email her instead. It gives me time to be someone. I’d say: How dangerous is it not to choose to love the life we’re given! Or: These glimpses of you make me want not you, but to be worthy of you. And wait an endless day for her reply. My car is not to the valet’s liking. He calls me sir with a tone. How long will I be, sir? I look at him, his cap, the brass buttons, the torn ticket he’s offering me in return for my woeful car, the weight of those granite walls behind us, doors revolving with an endless flow of people who know where they’re going, and I’m undone by the machinery of the whole business, by rooms with fresh linens and mini-bars, stacked into towers for other peoples’ husbands and wives to close the doors and work out their identities. Sir? Do you know where you are, sir? I hand him back his ticket stub and drive away from the hotel thinking, I can make this work. She’ll understand.
Copyright © February 24, 2007 David Hodges