The woman’s dark blonde or light brown hair was pulled back in a bun. Her clothes looked like bed-clothes, something comfortable. Her words were angry and her movements defiant. The man ahead of her walked on long legs down the hotel corridor purposefully, swiftly.
My brow furrowed. What had just happened?
She remained between the two of us as I trailed behind confused and disoriented. I took a few more steps and stopped. She turned her back to me, like he did, and followed after him. He never looked over his shoulder.
In the car ride home I sobbed broken, jagged sobs. The driver navigated the dark route home, his features dimly lit by the dash. I put my head in my hands and wailed, uncaring of my quiet audience. Was this rock bottom?
I’d spent the entire day on my couch after a drunken red wine night and a $100 morning. Around 4 pm he’d texted me with a picture from a fancy balcony of the beautiful countryside. “That [city] vibe is hard to beat,” his text read.
A woman from college had come through town and he was at a resort with her. She was sleeping in the other room while he drank bourbon and smoked a cigarette on the balcony. He was teasing me, he said. I told him it hadn’t worked.
Later, drunker, he asked me to come out to see him. By then I had cleaned some of my house – and myself – and was seated at the end of my favorite bar smiling gamely at anyone who would look. Two glasses of wine and two cocktails later I accepted his invitation.
After two false starts and a phone call to the front desk I found the bar nestled in the belly of the resort and waited. My texts had turned from blue iMessage to green text and I wondered if his sleeping suite mate had awoken or perhaps he’d passed out. I texted again. Blue.
I waited longer and ordered a second cocktail. Rye and bitters and an oily orange peel. My phone lit up. He had fallen asleep but was on his way down. I should have left then.
He strode in, toothsome and tall. A broad, boyish grin split his face open. We didn’t even hug. He ordered himself a double something and said, “Lets go outside. I want to smoke.”
I wasn’t even there. I felt my body moving and my mouth talking, but I wasn’t there. I didn’t care to be there; I tried to feel something. We sat on patio furniture enveloped in other smokers’ exhaust side by side. We said nothing and everything. And still we did not touch.
And then a woman walked through the door and closed the distance between us. The man stood up without a word as she spewed many at him, at me. That is when he strode away.
She turned and followed him.
And I followed her.
I don’t know why I did that. I had nothing to say to her. I was pursuing him, an answer. Was this real? Was that actually happening to me? Was I even here??
I didn’t follow for very long. The blue and white flooring opened up at a large corridor intersection and I stopped. I feared I’d get lost if I kept going, get lost in long hallways and repeating doors and lights and turns and turns and turns.
I felt so alone, so ashamed, so used up. I’d abandoned myself completely and utterly, made one bad decision after another, and found myself in the untenable position of complete and utter fool.
The torrent of emotions poured out in my sobs, a lifetime of feeling worthless personified in a hotel hallway 20 minutes from home.
I never should have left the couch that night. I never should have answered his text. But when someone is hellbent on destroying themselves, there’s little to do but hang on and wait for the morning light.
The morning after is always better and the heart is ever so much a little lighter.