Wednesday, September 8, 2010
The sun is setting and the orange gold light of the late afternoon streams in through the plate glass window and doors on the western side of the hotel lobby. There is a certain amount of tension in the room, there is a cluster of people in the center by the large round wooden table and flower arrangement.
We move hesitantly for a few seconds, like a school of fish not quite sure where to move, but I grasp that I need to get out of the hotel quickly and walk towards the door with a setting sun in the distance. I see her out there on the other side of the sliding glass door, her huge blond, almost white afro teased into a puff of cotton candy. With her lean tan arms raised, she pushes the door closed from the outside, her fingers and palms pressed against the glass doors, pushing the door towards its stable counterpart, locking them together as I, and the rest of the group walk towards her quickly.
As soon as I see her bleached white hair I know it’s too late, the exit is a solid opaque wall. I turn mid-stride, looking quickly at the other glass door on the other side of the thin-carpeted lobby. It is darker by that door, leading into a casino that dark walls and dim florescent bulbs, but also at the same time, providing an escape to the outside world.
I walk quickly, covering the lobby in five long steps, but I’m not fast enough, there’s someone else out there, an androgynous figure covered dark brown cloth and plaid. There are another set of hands pushing that glass door shut and I know that we are locked in.
My sister and I are in a hotel room above the locked lobby doors. We are locked into our room too. My sister is on the queen sized mattress, reclining against the headboard on a few fluffy white pillows, her bare white legs are stretched out on the thin maroon bedspread with a satin sheen and a polyester feel. Her elbow is pressed into the mattress by her hip, her raised hand holds a silver remote limply, pointing to the quickly changing bluish hues of the tv. Her face reveals nothing but boredom and she searches for escape.
I am standing a few feet away from the tv on the light brown carpet, my bare feet are pointed to the room’s window on the wall perpendicular to the tv. The window does not greet me with cool fresh air, but rather provides a view of an open-air hotel restaurant on a lower floor. I approach it and kneel, as it is close to the floor.
I look out the window, seeing long rectangular cafeteria-sized tables, fake green ivy in large tiled rectangular pots and a few open umbrellas that insinuate sun, though only a thick roof hangs above. The interior walls of the hotel are painted a reddish brown and look even darker with the sparse lighting.
I turn my attention to our window and examine the sides of the glass and then push on the screen. I quickly find that the screen is easily removable and I pull the large mesh frame from the window and lay it beside the bed.
I am in the restaurant two floors below our locked room. I sit on the long wooden cafeteria tables surrounded on all sides by employees of the Italian- theme restaurant. I turn and look up towards the open window and remember my sister is still up there watching tv.
The workers of the restaurant are understanding and sympathetic, they know where I have been and what I ultimately want. They crowd around, providing me with a bit of shelter and a sense of protection. Their bodies protect me from an unseen oppressor.
I look up at the window without a screen. I think I can get my sister to climb out the window, there are plenty of decorative ledges along the wall that lead to our window. I imagine that I can climb those ledges and use them as foot holds, I imagine my sister could do the same. But then I remember, it’s not just the hotel room that’s locked, the glass doors leading to the street are locked as well and I don’t have a solution to escape the glass doors.