One of the guests that occupied the corner room on my side of the pool was a successful businesswoman. She only stayed for four days at a time and her door was always open, day or night. It smelled of alcohol and cigarettes. Perhaps it was a temporary haven for the lonely, weary men of the city. It was none of my business, but I named the woman Peaches. One day, I sat outside my room in the noonday sun, smoking a limp cigarette. I turned to see Peaches sitting outside of her room three doors down. I didn’t find her very attractive. Her hair was dry but neat. Her body was ample but clung to her frame in disproportionate ways. Yet her eyes were special; they held silver screen sparkles. She could throw personality from them like a ventriloquist could toss a voice from a wooden dummy. So much can be said in a smile. How could I forget how alluring charisma and confidence could be? Peaches and I shared a smile that day and regrettably she was gone without a trace the next.
An obnoxious family stayed for a day during hurricane season. I thought I’d be left alone, alone to watch the sky tear away at the land, but the new children found a suitable playground in the motel’s corridors and closets. There must have been six or seven of them spanning a wide range of ages, ripping through the halls, shouting at one another with sticky fingers shoved in even stickier mouths and noses. They occupied three whole rooms and spent all day long in the pool. Their televisions blared constantly and their voices grated on the Sandlewood’s shady silence. I was all too glad to see them go.
Someone once told me that even in a brimming barrel of bad apples, there’s always one that’s sweet to the core. Such a man was Snowbird, a vacationing Canadian who was full of the mundane pleasures of life. I’m not sure why he chose to stay at the Sandlewood for two whole weeks, but I do know that he found peace here, despite the wars being waged behind most of the numbered doors. Snowbird was excessively jovial. He always smiled and waved from the pool where he tanned and bathed in blue bikini shorts, extra medium. He was overweight and loved it, an alien here and knew it. He was a wonderful man. He showed me pictures of his pasty white family back home and they were smiling mirror images of himself. When I asked why they weren’t here enjoying the pool and sun with him, he merely laughed and changed the subject. It would seem that Snowbird wasn’t an alien here after all. After all, everyone had shadows.
This was a discreet place and many unnamed faces came and went without so much as a bye or leave. No one was openly nosy and everyone except Snowbird offered nothing more than what was truly necessary. This place, this garden prison had an odd power over me. It robbed me of my sense of detachment. I became a part of the motel and the city it served. No longer did I stand out on the bright stage. Helplessly, I blended into the background of this busy city street. I brought my own bad habits with me and learned brand new ones to refresh my older vices. The wind was still and quiet over this place. It felt comfortably like the blues.
– Frederick S. Blackmon – Twitter – @ReadFreddyB
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