Sunday morning. You lay asleep beside me. It was a special morning, one that came at the heels of our first night together. Outside, the sun was looming behind the curtains. It threatened to take away everything that took place here.
In a world that constantly forgets, who will remember us?
I feared for my memory was weak. I wanted to document everything so I would never forget. I wanted to write about the way the light danced from the swaying curtains, the hum of the air conditioner and the bead of sweat that trickled slowly down the small of your back as you rose to get a glass of water. I felt bad that we were leaving this place without any proof that we were even here.
There is only one way to leave your mark, a voice said to me. Write a letter.
When I was a kid, my mom enrolled me in a school that was very close to her office. Convenience, she said but I think she just wanted me to be close to her at all times. While most kids spent their afternoons playing with friends or watching cartoons, I spent the hours after class in my mother’s office watching her work.
On a particularly boring day, I told her I was claiming an unused desk at the northeast corner of the room. I need the space, I reasoned. To do my homework and stuff. At that time, it was the closest I had come to becoming an adult. The location was prime. There was no one around to bother me. The drawer proved most useful. All at once, it held my books, crayons and lessons learned.
I was very sociable back then. I made many friends in different departments and floors. One time, the seventh floor guard gave me a piece of Stork. He was a pretty notorious bully but even he couldn’t resist my charms. After I devoured the candy, I kept the wrapper in my drawer as proof that there is good in everyone’s hearts. You just gotta dig deep sometimes.
There was this other time when I was running around the office in my white socks. I think I was pretending to skate or something. My socks would often turn gray those days but it was a fun way to kill time. During one miscalculation, I ended up slipping and crushing this huge ass bug on the wall. Upon closer inspection, it was a beautiful insect with many colors. I started crying, the guilt of having taken a life deep in my gut. To remember how fragile life is and how some mistakes are irreversible, I wrapped the bug’s body in toilet paper and stored it in my drawer.
There were many stories, each one with a different lesson and a different addition to my collection. I learned a lot that year and it didn’t take long before I had enough stuff to fill the entire drawer. On my last day before summer vacation, my mother told me it was time to clear my desk. Next year, I would be studying in a school closer to home.
I had an urge to leave something behind, something to prove I once occupied that space. If I didn’t, it would be like I was betraying all the lessons that I learned. I decided to leave a letter in my special drawer. I wanted the next user to know how special it was to me. I wrote everything down in my crooked second-grade handwriting on a page I tore out of my notebook. Right before we left that night, I pushed the letter into the now empty drawer, hoping that my message would find its intended recipient.
In a world that constantly forgets, who will remember us? I asked.
Write a letter, my eight-year old self replied. Put on a show and no one will ever forget.
I started writing in my clumsy twenty-four year old handwriting on a pad of hotel paper. I wrote about my search for love and how it took me to different beds and different hearts. I wrote about giving up and resigning to live alone. I recounted all the mistakes I had ever made, mistakes that somehow led me to this hotel room and in your arms. And then I realized it was too long and too emotional. No one wants to read stuff like that anymore.
I crumpled the page and started anew. I chronicled each kiss, the way our bodies moved as one, how I was you and you were me. I retold Hedwig’s Origin of Love* and how each touch, each kiss brought you closer to me. I wrote about how I entered you and how it felt like we were jigsaw puzzle pieces who had finally found each other. And then I realized it was too erotic and I didn’t want the next resident to think it was that kind of hotel.
I wrote about the conversations that we had over cigarettes at the balcony. I recounted how I felt when I woke up beside you, your chest rising and falling gently with each breath. I described the wonderful, warm fuzzy feeling love brings and how I wanted to die and be reborn as that mole in the middle of your chest. I wrote about how we slow danced to a Sade song* that was playing in my mind. And then I realized that it was too cheesy and I didn’t want them to think I was some fool obsessed with love.
One thing was clear. We had stumbled upon something very important within these four walls. I just couldn’t seem to write it down. The concept was elusive and each attempt to capture it felt like a betrayal. After many drafts, I realized I was down to my last piece of stationery.
Make this count, my eight-year old self said. Use no other voice but yours. Ours. I looked at him in his navy blue shorts and graying socks and I automatically knew what I should write. He was there for a reason. His drawer was my hotel room. I furiously wrote down my letter, my penmanship heavy and excited. Right after we checked out, I ran upstairs and slipped my letter in the bedside drawer. There, beside the Bible and the room service menu, someone would find a letter. It would contain the most important thing I know.
Dear 3A Resident,
There is magic in this room. It taught me that love exists.
Photo Credit: crumpled-paper