The rain has left everything shining. The streetlight’s glare on the black asphalt catches her silhouette. He sees her from a block and a half away. He knows from her walk, she can be bought.
He knows the cadence. How it is offered and determined at the same time. He loves her for that. Her knowing. There is a secret they have. It is in their eyes. It is a different wilderness. He knows that to be great is to do what you have to do. The spirit is close, it is close because it is leaving.
She knows him from the same distance, agrees with a nod and leads him into a doorway. She holds his hand as they walk up the unlit stairs. He thinks ‘She is holding my hand’. The door to the bathroom is paneled and heavy. He knows it is old. He is a carpenter. All old paneled doors will bring him back to this night. She closes the door. The bulb is naked and dim from dust. He gives her the money.
Because the room is small, he steps into the tub. It is large and old, the kind with legs. She kneels and with her mouth, puts the condom on him. The warmth is pleasing. The noise in his head stops. She turns towards the mirror. She and he pull down the two pairs of pants and her cotton long underwear to her knees. He thinks how cold it must be for her working outside of buildings. He enters her. She moans.
This is when things disappear, because it’s arrived. The place time cannot touch. The mind steals as the body sleeps in its own world. Here it is awake. It thrusts. Chasing what is never caught.
Here. Now, is the top. Now. The fall…
The room opens slowly, without desire. His barren eye recieves it. The shine of an empty syringe on the floor rises past their collecting shadows. A hand written note, above and to the left. ‘Please do not leave dirty needles in the bathroom. Thank you. The Management.’ The yellowed tape has peeled off the paper and mirror.
The handwriting reminds him of an older woman, who learnt to write in a one room school. Everyone had families then. He wants to meet this woman. He imagines she ran this hotel when it was distinguished. When Vancouver was a port town. When the Alderman knew your name. He wants to have tea with her, help her with the hotel. He knows old things, broken things. New carpet, new cars, and people with ideas make him nervous and foreign. Not allowed.
Down the stairs, he follows her out. The hunger of the street finds him unprepared. They are past everything that brought them together. Although he wanted – still, something… she lets go of his hand. And joins people under an over hang.
He walks away and the noise in his head begins.