The morning came, although I did not expect it to.
I go down to the small, clammy reception because I am not sure where else to go while I wait for Jeremy.
Perhaps they have some sodas or something I could buy. I am not sure I need sodas, but perhaps I just need to need something.
Mr. Ruiz (that’s what it says on the small cardboard sign taped to the reception desk) is here.
Or rather his body is here, but his mind is elsewhere. He sits as if half-asleep. A black and white TV flickers strangely on the shelf behind him, between bursts of snow and then the silent running of a horde of football players after a ball I presume is somewhere, outside the screen, too fast for the camera to follow. The picture winks in and out of existence – snow, match, snow…
I tap the bell.
“Uh — yeah?”
“Do you have something to drink?”
“There’s water up in the tab, ain’t there?”
“I mean a cola or something?”
He dries sweat from his forehead and then keeps his hand there for a moment as if he has to think really hard about what a cola is.
Mr. Ruiz is a short, plump man; face puffy, something black under his eyes that I’m not quite sure about. His eyes have this feel like a glow from a dark room, where a single red light bulb dangles.
“Cola?” he repeats.
He turns, fumbles with something behind the desk.
“Lemme see. Might have some here.”
I lean on the counter, on my elbows. Everything in my body hurts. I wonder if it’ll ever stop.
There’s no one else here.
Outside, through the dust-plastered window glass, I see the small parking lot in front of the motel. Beyond that: big, grey-green nothing that stretches from here and into Arkansas. Maybe it’s all there is.…