August 12, 2010

Check out any tile you like, but you can never leave

In an abandoned and half-forgotten remote winter lodge, built decades before a nearby high-rise hotel which cast an imposing shadow, I wandered aimlessly, separated from a friend who was probably busy being unconcerned with my well-being and admiring her own vanity, photographing herself in a bathroom mirror somewhere nearby. The stone walls and chandeliers in the lobby were all quite impressive, but a trip down the corridors revealed the usual dilapidation one would expect with a building this old. I couldn’t help but notice that one room drew me in magnetically, and one drop ceiling tile might as well have had my name on it. I stacked some books on top of a chair, and stepped up so the tile was within reach. I gently lifted the tile upwards and placed it out of the way above the other tiles as nearly a century of dust and cobwebs lingered above my head. Unfortunately since I couldn’t see whatever I was supposed to find, I carefully stuck my hard-hat covered head above the ceiling line, carefully turning my head to provide a view inside the plenum.

And there it was – my father’s wallet. Not the wallet I gave him recently for Father’s Day – the wallet I caused him to lose years before – still stuffed to its britches with credit cards and a collection of business cards that any Rolodex would be jealous of. Inside there was still exactly $200 cash. Unfortunately before I had a chance to even step back down off the chair I realized I was no longer alone, and my new yet-to-be-acquaintance was not someone I wanted to be acquainted with. When I stepped down off the chair, and saw the dark-haired woman wearing a business suit watching me, I realized the jig was up, and I surrendered.

“Take a seat,” she said, motioning to one of the many couches I failed to take notice of earlier in the cavernous lobby. She asked about my interest in her building – which I knew was not hers. As I explained to her my fascination with this particular abandoned hotel, not mentioning my father’s missing wallet, I noticed her hair was much lighter than I remembered from moments before, and it was as though she was now twenty years younger. We were laying next to each other on the floor beside the couch which I never got off of. We looked each other in the eyes longingly and I kissed her.

And if it weren’t for the foul taste of cigarettes which permeated her breath, I wouldn’t have kissed her again.

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