I imagine photographing every detail. Capturing photograph after photograph of this moment’s essence. Immortalizing into art this room’s ephemera.
The empty bottles of champagne on the table. The one still half full in the ice bucket. Little droplets from condensation sliding down sensually on the metal. Curtains pulled back and blowing with the wind coming in through the door open to the terrace. The city lights and nightlife of New York like a painted scene outside the window. The tops of Central Park and water of Hudson River. The J. Mendel he had in a box waiting for me before dinner now slithering off the edge of the bed like it didn’t cost more than any rent I could ever pay. His shirt still crisp from dry cleaning hanging off the edge of the loveseat. A broken champagne flute on the floor. Tissue blossoming little red flowers in the wastebasket. The open wound on my foot. Dried blood smeared on the white duvet and on his lower back. His dark tie wrapped securely around my pale little wrists.
We had a brief romance we always understood would come to an end after his work in Houston was over. We got close without letting ourselves become too attached. I didn’t even know where home was for him. I’m still not sure. I was a little surprised when I heard from him a year later. He’d sent me a picture of a painting I made especially for him before he left and a text saying “midnight still makes me think of you.”
It was unexpected, but there was no reason for me not to take him up on flying me up there to see him. I’m me, after all, and I’m always craving something.
During our time together all he ever was was attentive, sweet, gallant and passionate. He was also a considerate lover. I hadn’t been to New York since a debate tournament in high school, I had always wanted to go back. I had this gnawing curiosity about the city and the way people lived there. I wanted to throw myself into it, explore every borough, consume everything there was of it and let it do the same to me. I didn’t do much exploring outside the walls of that hotel suite that weekend, though.
There’s just something about hotel rooms.
The evanescence of it all. The transience. The being somewhere strange, whether it’s close or far from home. Countless people you never have to see again everywhere around you. You can be someone else for as long as you’re there.
And the sex.
Sex is just so much better in hotel rooms.
A couple of years back, at the Omni in Nashville, my then boyfriend had my long hair wound tightly around his hand. He was getting me off more than he had the previous two years of our four-year relationship. Our relationship was doomed and I’d known it for a long time. I hated him as much as I once loved him. Maybe more. I couldn’t stand his hands on me sometimes. His skin. His proximity when he tried having his way with me. I felt the way I should have felt after a dirty night with a strange man, but it was always strangers I was thinking about with him. This night I wasn’t. This night we were many miles away from home. This night he was somebody else entirely. At least, inside that hotel room, I was able to pretend he was. At least, I could pretend I, too, was someone else for the night.
I wasn’t in this relationship. He wasn’t a manipulative piece of shit. I wasn’t someone who stayed in something she knew she should leave. I wasn’t someone who on some level thought she didn’t deserve any better.
I was just a girl with her glorious ass red and in the air, finally feeling something good.
He’s ramming into me and all I have on my mind is the orgasm awaiting me. It feels as if he could rip the hair right out my scalp if he doesn’t loosen his grip soon. It’s terrifying and I love it and I want him to keep going harder. He collapses on top of me, and when I’m finally able to turn and lay on my back, it’s like he’s the guy I fell in love with four years ago. I kiss him without imagining another mouth.
There’s just something about hotel rooms.
There always has been.
There was this guy I fucked on and off for years. Our chemistry was that kind that’s harder to come by than love. He used to joke around and call me his sexual soulmate. We never held back in bed. We were never afraid to go to those places most people don’t even think about. I think on some level we sensed a kind of same darkness in each other.
We had little games we played sometimes. It was never dull with us. One of the tamest, but one of my favorites, had a name. Her name was Camila. Camila was me. Red wig with bangs. Makeup done differently. Clothes even a little different.
Camila would meet him in restaurants. In museums. In bars around town. Coffee shops. Walking down the street. Hotel bars and lobbies to head upstairs for the evening. We’d keep the roleplay going until the very moment the wig was no longer on my head. I played an ex-wife. I played a call girl. I played his student. I played a mistress. I played it all. But always with the essence of Camila. Something spawned from my very spirit.
I’m arms stretched out and tied to the headboard. He’s feeding me strawberries and wine and telling me to swallow it all. In this moment he could be striking my skin and I’d take it.
“I’m not going to take my eyes off of you while I do this,” he tells me. I’m not always comfortable in my own skin, but in this moment I am owning it. It’s so arousing and frightening at the same time to feel like I don’t ever want to stop being watched. In this hotel room, I feel like I could be on display for him for as long as he liked.
He slides my skirt and panties all the way down my legs, bends them both up at the knee and starts using his mouth on me without closing his eyes or looking away. I don’t know if his tongue is on me or in me and where his flesh ends and mine begins. For someone who doesn’t believe in heaven, this is as close as I’ll ever be.
I start to roll my head back and close my eyes and he stops. “I want to see those pretty eyes. Look at me.”
And I do. Right up until the moment I come in his mouth. Only then does he rip the wig off my head, only then does he call me by my real name.
There is just something about hotel rooms.
There was something dangerous this one night on a different year, with a different person, in July. The city lights buzzing in my veins. His eyes like neon lights all night. I did something I swore I wouldn’t do in this one.
I think I fell in love.
I knew I’d be going back to his room with him before the night even started. I was sure of it at dinner before we even finished clearing off our plates.
I wanted to jump on him and straddle him while we were still in a crowded bar. I couldn’t hear the music, I couldn’t see anybody, I couldn’t even taste my drink, all I could take in was him. I was ready for 2 am to roll around all night.
I remember warm skin blanketing warm skin and thinking I could stay in that hotel room forever. If I had to pick a moment where I could pause time, it would have been then.
There was just something about me and him lying in each other’s arms all night. There was just something about the way we saw into each other inside that hotel room. I’d never felt anything like that. I had never put my hands on anything more beautiful. I can’t think of a word for it other than electric. I remember thinking, I could make a home out of these four walls.
I’m still trying to get it out of my mind. I’m still trying to get him out of my heart.
There’s just something about hotel rooms.
It was a Friday night, many moons before I spent my nights with thoughts of someone who didn’t think of me. I was bored. This wasn’t typical boredom. It was a humdrum that itches and makes you feel like you want to unzip your own skin and crawl out of it. The kind that makes you wish you were somebody else living a different life so far removed from your own.
I found myself at a bar with hundreds of hotel rooms above me.
I hadn’t felt as good in a long time as I did that night sipping that scotch – a drink I never order. My hair was curled, the left side pinned back. I was just a young professional, maybe a little dressed up, enjoying a drink. Maybe I was waiting on a date who was late.
I know I made the right decision pairing these blood bright red lips with this black dress when a beautiful man so dapper around my age smiles at me from the other end of the bar. Normally, I’d smile back. But not tonight. I look away and hope he goes back to his friends. Tonight, I’m looking for something different.
Tonight, I want to be somebody else.
I walk back to a table that opens up and sit there until I down my entire drink. I don’t go back up to the bar to order a new one until I know it’s time.
Smartly dressed. An impeccable mess of salt and pepper hair. 40. 42. 44 tops. The way his casual suit looks on his body, it’s obvious he’s athletic.
I walk up the bar and set my empty glass down. Wait for the bartender. I flip my hair back, making sure to leave little atoms of my perfume swimming around the air between us. I don’t have to look or resort to my peripheral view. I can sense him taking me in.
I sigh because the bartender is at the other end of the bar and it’ll be a few before she makes her way here.
“At least you’ve had your first. I’ll get her over here. I’m having the same thing. Would you like another?”
I turn to face him, smile appreciatively and tell him I would like “a glass of Merlot, please.” He exudes power, control, it’s no surprise the bartender makes her way towards us when he waves his hand in the air. He makes himself comfortable at the stool to his left, looks at the one between us and gestures towards it.
“You should sit down. Those shoes don’t look too comfortable.”
I sit down as she slides us our drinks and I thank him, smile and eyes widening.
“Are you waiting for someone? He may be held up because of the storm. I’m avoiding Hobby another night because of it.”
Smooth. The way he was trying to figure out if I was available. How he also managed to slide in the fact he was alone. The flirting afterward came naturally. As easily as licking my lips and hearing the subtle change in his voice. The more minutes ticked by the thicker it got.
A glass turns into a couple bottles. With each glass he’s trying harder to restrain himself from leaning too close to me.
He asks if I was really waiting on someone. I tell him I never said I was.
“So what are you doing here alone on a Friday evening? Are you here for pleasure or here on business.”
I don’t know what comes over me. Tonight I’m someone else. Sometimes there’s just no greater feeling. I take a small sip, look at him and say, “Sometimes they’re one and the same.”
I see it in his eyes. All the possibilities.
We don’t rush it. We keep enjoying our evening the way we have since we sat side by side at these two stools.
It’s getting late and he asks if I’m hungry or up for a change of scene. I tell him I know a bar that still has an open kitchen. Truffle fries and crab cakes to die for. He looks at my lips, slightly looks down at my cleavage, and up to my eyes again and says, “We can always order room service.”
I ask him if he’s sure because room service can be a little pricey.
“I’m in 1522.”
I tell him I will be there in ten minutes and flash him a secret smile.
I savored the last of the wine alone before making my way to the elevator.
There was really something about that hotel room.
He whispers goodbye in my ear and kisses the top of my head sometime before dawn.
In the bright light of morning, I get out of bed, go to grab my chapstick and Excedrin from my purse and find that there’s an envelope inside it stuffed with twelve one-hundreds.
I get dressed. I look around at the room. Take in the chaotic mess and beauty of it all. I soak up all that impermanence. I soak up every residual feeling.
I throw the envelope, cash flying out, on the rumpled sheets and snap a picture on my phone. I take one last look at the room. I pick up each bill and place it back inside the envelope, write two words on the outside, place it on the dresser and leave it for the maid.
It was still storming when I walked outside. I stood there waiting for my car, wishing I could capture a photograph of that sky as I got ready to walk back to my life.