Day 206 – No Vacancy – Part 1

Mostly inspired by a dream I had last night. I couldn’t write it all down in one sitting to do it justice, though, so I am going to split it over many parts – hopefully eight or nine.

Word count: 1250

Bex’s plane was delayed by an hour, so when it eventually arrived in Miami, she was too exhausted to taken in any of the beautiful sun kissed beaches and sparkling ocean. Collecting her luggage from the conveyor belt and hopped in a taxi, watching the palm trees flit by.

It had been a long journey and one of the most difficult ones she had ever made. “Take a job in Miami”, anyone would jump at the chance. But to Bex this was three years away from everything and anyone that she knew. For the past month, she had said countless teary goodbyes. Every day for the last week she was met with faces she may never see again. Her family were not happy she was leaving, but had arranged for a huge final farewell BBQ and had invited all her friends. Now she was all in alone in a country that was entirely new to her.

The only person she knew here, and even then only by name, was her manager. Bex was coming out here to manage a hotel on the sea front. It was an old, failing hotel that was in desperate need of an update; something which she had much expertise in dispensing. For the first few weeks she would be staying in the hotel she would be working in until she was able to find more permanent accommodation. Bex was extremely grateful for this as the thought of living alone or with strangers immediately after arriving terrified her.

The taxi pulled up outside the hotel. It certainly resembled that of the pictures she had seen. It was a stark contrast to the shiny and modern hotels that neighboured it. It looked more like a classic English hotel rather than a swish beach-side resort in one of the most exclusive cities in the world. The taxi driver helped her with her bags and she slipped him ten dollars, unaware of whether this was sufficient or not.

“Rebecca!” a male American voice called out to her as she struggled with her luggage up the stairs.
“Bex, please – you must be Tony?”
“That’s correct! Come on, let me take those for you…”

Tony took the luggage and showed Bex into the hotel. Indeed the interior even resembled a run down English hotel. There was an awful tweed-like carpet and the white wallpaper was yellowing. There was a very bland atmosphere about the reception. Bex noted that there were more staff than guests as they made their way across the reception and up the staircase to her room.

“You’re in the top floor – life doesn’t work today, under maint – but it should be fixed by the end of the week.”

“Top floor?” Bex panted, trying to remember how many the hotel had.

“Was the flight good, no jet lag or anything?”

“Nah, it was tiring but not too bad. I just want to grab a few hours sleep though. I’m completely knackered.”

“Knackered?”

“Exhausted.”

“Ah! Well sure, take a day or two to get used to the area and everything. This must be so different to England.”

“God yes. It was drizzle when I left. I can’t fully absorb the amount of sunshine you’re having today.”

“Today and every day – you betcha! Here we are – top floor!”

“Finally!” Bex breathed as they reached the eighth floor.

The top floor had slanting ceilings and she had to duck slightly when walking along the corridor. There were mainly storage cupboards than guest rooms up here, by the lack of room numbers on the doors.

“There won’t be many people up here during the night. This is the storage areas – pantries as well – you know where we keep all the cleaning products. We have a few rooms up here that are for staff, but it will be just you and another girl, Jasmine. She is between apartments at the moment, so will be leaving soon as well.”

“That’s nice, it looks… cosy,” the cold white walls stared blankly back at her.

“Here we are – eight-five-two.” Tony swiped the electronic card in the door and edged it open slightly.

A small burst of white light met her eyes as she entered. A tiny little porthole shaped window, veiled by a miniature net curtain, was the only source of natural light in the room. There was a single bed, a bedside table, a lamp, a chest of drawers, a sad excuse for a wardrobe and an ironing board. Everything was a crisp shade of white. It was tiny though, barely more than four people could fit in there at any one time.

“It’s lovely…” Bex deposited her handbag on the bed, “Where’s the bathroom?”

“Oh the restrooms and showers are just down the hallway, do you want me to show you?”

“No, no it’s ok, I’m sure I’ll be able to find it later on…”

“Now housekeeping come round once a day, well you’ll know their schedules soon enough, but you’ll have fresh towels every second day and fresh sheets every week. All your meals are included, and if you want room services that’s absolutely fine. Do you want a couple of hours to catch up on some Zs or do you want to have a quick tour of the hotel and the city?”

“To be honest, I’d quite like to just lie down for a few hours.”

“That’s fine, that’s fine.”

“Is there a phone in the room, I’d like to call my parents and let them know I’ve arrived?”

“Sure, sure. There’s one by the bed there, it’s white so it’s in camouflage in this room!” Tony joked, “Right well come down to reception when you’re fully rested and we can give you the big tour!”

“Great, that’ll be great! Thanks for all this!” Bex smiled as Tony closed the door behind him.

He seemed a really friendly kind of guy, Bex was pleased. She scattered the contents of her handbag on the bed and searched for her perfume. She felt really disgusting from the plane journey, but wanted to sleep far greater than she wanted to have a shower. She sprayed on the perfume and picked up the phone and started dialling home. It rang with such familiarity.

“Hi mum!”

“Bex! How are you – how is it?”

“It’s great mum, it’s really great!” Bex lied, she had not even acknowledged the place yet, “Everyone is really friendly and everything.”

“That’s fantastic. And is your room nice?”

“Uh, cosy! I’ve got a – I’ve got a sea view!” Bex peered out of her porthole and in the farthermost edge of the view she saw a glimpse of the clean blue sea. The rest of the view was swamped with concrete buildings and carparks. Parking lots as she would now have to refer to them.

“We all miss you!”

“Mum, I’ve only been gone for fourteen hours!”

“I know, I know but it’s because we can’t just nip round any more. Oh and have you put the the sun cream on that I gave you?”

“Yes, yes mum – don’t worry… listen I’m really, tired here, jetlag and all that….”

“Not to worry, not to worry – give us a ring at some point… let us know how you’re getting on!”

“I will!”

Bex rested the phone back in its cradle and swiped her stuff from the bed. She took off her shoes and lay down. Some birds outside cackled and the friendly buzz of the air con set in. Sleep was imminent.

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~ by S.G. Mark on April 30, 2012.

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