|When I looked at the twitching vacancy sign something inside me told me this wasn’t right. I couldn’t tell just what it was, but I needed a place to sleep. I stepped into the office. A black southern women sat behind the desk in a tattered avocado Lazy-Boy. Her eyes peered through her small glasses balanced perfectly on the bridge of her nose. She was stitching a picture of Shakespeare as a bust. I could tell by the way she stitched that there were no other choices upon her last visit to the craft store – a trek she made only twice a year.
The bell rang on the door as it closed causing her to look up. She examined me from head to toe. At this time in my life I was quite skinny in such a way that could be perceived as unhealthy. My skin was very pale, I had spent many an hour before the trip inside my office with no exposure to the darkening effects of sunlight. I could tell by the way her smile twitched that it was forced – she secretly wanted to express her concern for me. And though I was in perfect health, had I seen myself come into a motel office at this hour of the night I would want to show equal concern.
She set her stitching on the arm of the chair, pushing the needle into the green fabric that held many extra needles. She began to rise which was something of a chore. I started to walk toward her to offer my assistance but she shook her head. Once she was finally up she leaned her stalky build on to the counter and began to speak, “What can I do you for?” her voice was of true hominess. You never hear such a voice from an office.
I began to speak. She stared into my eyes with true warmth. “I need a room for one night, maybe more. What are your rates?” I was short on cash and would sleep in the car if I needed. My small Honda had served as a bed many a night and I had grown rather used to it.
She chuckled. “You need not concern yourself with that. You stay as long as you need. Can I fix you something to eat? I just made some potatoes and there is more than enough. I could heat you up some soup, or fix you some toast.”
“Oh, no thank you.” I was actually in desperate need of something to eat but I had brought along some beef-jerky, and I did not want to further trouble this woman that was offering me stay in her motel got free as long as I needed.
She opened a drawer below the desk and began to fumble around. I couldn’t see into the drawer but I could hear papers and metal. She began pulling out keys and placing them on the top of the desk. As she brought each one up to the desk I could see the fine details of her hands; ashy and dry, her nails painted in pink. The index finger of her left was slightly crooked – perhaps it had been broken. As she continued to place the keys onto the counter – now numbering close to ten – she stopped. She held up one that remained in her hand attached to a silver key ring in addition to a small paper tag with a circular metal frame. The tag had written upon it “A-6” in neat cursive. “Here. It’s not much, but it’s what we got.”
“Thank you I’m sure it will be plenty”
“It’s just down the walkway on the right. It’s next to the one with the burnt-out bulb.”
I thanked her again and turned to go out the door. I could hear the keys clanking as she them up and put them back into the drawer, their home until they were woken up again to assist a patron.
As I looked down the walkway I saw a light by each door illuminating the numbers next to the door. Each door was of brown wood with a gold handle. I began slowly down the walkway covered with Astroturf, once green now faded from the sun, that same sun that I had been hiding from inside my office. I saw the light that was brunt-out and walked to the door next to it. I looked at the tag of the key and the number below the light; they both read “A-6”, one in neat cursive and one in metal letters. I placed the key in the hole. I began to turn it, which required more force than normal – most likely form its lack of use. I then pushed the door open to reveal my new home for the next chapter of my life.
© Copyright 2007 Veginoodles (UN: veginoodles at Writing.Com).
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