Darling room

“Oh, it’s just lovely, thank you.”

The bellhop raised one eyebrow as she handed him his tip. “Well, lovely in a rustic way, I mean…oh well. Thanks.”

It’s true, the red paint was peeling from the tri-wood panels and the gold edging was not bright as it was; but it felt it was straight out of an old Hollywood film…now which one…well, any one but “Psycho…” she decided, and laughed out loud.

She headed into the restroom and changed for a swim.

Later, down at the pool, Phil was doing his damndest to charm her, which meant staring silently and gloomily as she swam laps.

Padding cool wet patterns on the warm cement, she made her way toward him and collapsed on the rather un-glamourous rubber lounger next to his. She’d have wrinkles on her thighs later. No matter.

“Phil, you’re really doing your best at being charming, today, I mean, really, anymore debonaire and people will start drowning themselves.”

Her looked at her eyes, a pair of sparkling sapphires on a friendly face. He had fallen in love with those eyes over 20 years ago. Her hair, lined with sliver, was beginning to dry into a frizzy haphazard pattern. She was absolutely stunning.

Looking away, Phil asked, “Did he come to your room?”

But Madeline was already gazing up at the woozy trees, which seemed too tired to want to stay green.

“Well you know, him.”

She glanced over, she knew he wasn’t jealous…she knew he had just had a similar, strange, experience.

“The man with the music case.” He nodded.

“He looked ready to play jazz…”she said. “How odd! How stereotypical of me, but still…”

“What did he say?”

“He said there was no life worth living except for this one, and then he asked me to tell him about my life.”

“And you did?” Phil’s expression became slightly less gloomy.

“Yes…I did…this complete stranger…” as she shook her head her curls jiggled a bit and bright drops of water leaped to the ground.

“So did I,” he said, “I have no idea why.”

They both stared at the tired trees for a moment.

“Can I show you something?” he asked.

“Of course, will you tell me though, first, I’m starting to get a chill. Surprises may not be good.”

He sucked in his breath. “There are pictures of him in the foyer, from 50 years ago.”

“And so?”

“He looks exactly the same.”


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