The Theme Was Hotels, the Theme Was the Absence of Worry

Some memories that seem somehow important:

Waking on a hotel bed as a young young boy–no older than 5–on a family vacation to Ocean City, Maryland.  I had apparently been allowed to sleep in.  I could see out of a high window (it was a high window to me then) and the sun was at it’s zenith.  I was suffering from my first sunburn, which if you remember is quite confusing.  What had awoken me was the sound of seagulls squaking.  I caught a glimpse of a clump of them flying by the window in my first few moments of consciousness.  The bed was the most comfortable and comforting thing I could imagine. The air conditioning was pumped up, and the cold air mixed with the warm sun created an elegant sensation. I was alone in the room. This is the definition of childhood happiness, and the absence of worry.

Waking on a hotel bed, trembling.  Where am I? Which hotel is this?  It is dark, and much too hot.  It smells of mushrooms and bile in here. Who is next to me?  Is it someone?  Perhaps it is her.  I didn’t think she’d return. I try to rise, but my peripheral swims with still motion, my stomach lurches, I knock the lamp over, lay back down.  The trembling rises, it crescendos, it is hot and shaky and moist in here.  This is depravity.  This is the sadness. Strangely, it is also the absence of worry.

Waking on a hotel bed, a man of nearly thirty.  I’m in town for my job interview.  The light through the drawn curtains is low and grey; it’s just past dawn.  I only slept an hour but am instantly awake.  My eyes focus and are aware. Standing before the mirror to tie my tie, I am fatter and older. I accept this and smile. I like my fat cheeks, the bulbous nose.  I earned them. I gather my things: the suitcase I bought, the journal I keep, the socks I wash myself.  Tomorrow I’ll drive home. Tomorrow I’ll be OK, I know.

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