Hotel Riverside Studio, 2008
Mindy M. Wara
April 18, 2011
I look up at the eggshell ceiling festering
with cracked paint, water stains, and visible pipes
as the coiled springs dig into my back.
The bargain of a plywood bed
with palm tree inspired headboard
available for only $150 a night
on the Upper West Side.
The Easter colored plaid duvet worn from too many washes
clings to my clammy skin
to cool itself as the thick August air that invades the room.
I watch the slow beads of water trickle down
the single cloudy window. The condensation forms
a cataract to dim the Manhattan lights.
My sister lays still
on the matching twin bed next to mine.
She can sleep through anything.
I envy every deep sleepy breath she takes.
The pink chiffon and purple linen innards
of her imitation Louis Vuitton suitcase
strewn about the slightly slanted floor
and the crusty brown carpet that covers it.
I couldn’t make my way to the communal bathroom
without my glasses in the piss-cold dark
even if my bladder twists and twinges,
torturing me for having to drink
that last bottle of water before bed.
I think about the online Travelocity testimonials
and realize the 8.8 rating is full of shit:
“The room was nice and clean; there wasn’t much to it,
but for the price I paid it was perfect.
Shared bathrooms and showers were always clean
and available when I needed them.” – Anonymous
The mildew scented bathroom
down the hall was not mentioned. The dingy porcelain
toilet I hover over and refuse to sit on
did not make the website.
I cannot step into the tiny shower
even in flip-flops
without thinking of every stray hair
that has ever been sucked down the drain
and the sloughed off skin
that probably still sticks to the tile walls.
With this thought, I wonder
who the hell has slept under these sheets before me?