THE OTHER DAY IN A SMOKING ROOM
The other day In a smoking room on the back side of the third floor of an extended stay motel, a young girl hesitated at the threshold. She didn’t want to give her body over to the room, and it wasn’t too fond of her either. She had wanted a tub bath and definitely not smoking. The burn holes in the coverlet made her yearn for her own tumbled bed. But it was graduation weekend somewhere and all the beds in town were spoken for. She was lucky to get this.
Out on the walk that rimmed the rooms, a long haired asian man in desert camo sat with a cooler between him and his shorn-headed companion, backs to the wall, face to the railing and the trees that screened from view whatever it was that lived next door. A lilting romantic foreign music spilled out all around them. She knew she had arrived someplace different, with different rules. People didn’t keep themselves to themselves here.
She wanted to be outside too, she didn’t want to close herself in, but she didn't want to join the men, or expose herself to them. So she pulled her chair to hold open the door and sat just inside her threshold, closed her eyes, turned her face to the pines across the narrow lot and listened to the way evening swirled out of that soft foreign music.
Soon a gentle rain came and carried away all the trouble from the smoking room on the third floor of the extended stay motel.