The hotel has changed. When we were last here, it had an aviation theme: pictures of Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart, wallpaper with renderings of the Wright Brothers and the Red Baron, suites named after Kitty Hawk and the Apollo missions. There was even a flight simulator in the lobby. But now that has been turned into a plainly furnished breakfast room, and all the walls are a bland shade of pale pink covered here and there by insipid paintings of flowerpots and wheelbarrows. All the light bulbs are those new compact fluorescents that shine too harsh and cold. Nothing here evokes feelings of excitement like we had when we came here for our little adventures way back when.
Our room has changed. One wall is entirely blank except for a small flatscreen TV hanging in the middle of it; no more art or furniture, just a black box suspended in a white void. The carpet is the kind of dull blue-grey stuff found in waiting rooms and under cubicles. The upholstery on the chairs actually does look nicer, but it feels too plush and corporate. We never had much use for the chairs anyway.
The bathroom floor tiles have gone from dark brown to navy blue, as has the oversized bathtub. They replaced the caulking between the tub and the floor; no more open passages for spiders like that one that crawled out while we were bathing. You made me toss it out the window instead of killing it; I wonder if it ever found its way back inside, whether its children still live inside these walls.
The shape of the place is the same, but it looks like we were never here. That we never snuck away to this room to experience each other. That we never made love in this bed and in this tub and on this floor. Everything has been stripped and scoured, repainted and replaced. There is a new maroon bedspread in place of the old forest green one. Even the pillows are new, and somehow they don’t feel as firm.
I know I was naïve to think this place would never change, but I still hoped to find it at least close to the way it was, that there would be something left here to make it feel like it was still our place. But why should this one spot remain the same when the world keeps moving on? No one has any reason to care about the memories of two little people except those two little people themselves. Besides, there aren’t two of us anymore. Nothing is ours now; it only was ours once upon a time.
I am alone now. I am alone in a hotel room that just happens to bear the same number as the one we stayed in years ago. It belongs to someone else now.
Copyright (C) 2012 by Eric Landuyt