I was finally free. I could now do anything that I wanted, which was a luxury that I could never before afford. Sure the ghosts of my past would haunt me but they were my own demands and as long as I ignored them they could not hurt me, as I wouldn’t let them hurt me. I was in a new city with new people that had no idea of who I was and even though for a normal person this would be a daunting prospect for me this was all that I wanted. I had escaped from hell and I was set on making this city my heaven.
Looking back it was the gloomiest of nights but to me it was like a sunny day. I walked up a street that I needed my crumpled map to navigate around but would shortly know like the back of my hand. It was the street in which I was told at the train station had the cheapest hotels. I walked past the hotels looking for the best one which wasn’t the best idea as I had little options.
I saw one hotel that looked good enough especially when compared to the others on that street and when I thought things were coming together. Three drunken men burst through its door. They stopped and adjusted their eyes to see me clear. The ringleader of the group with a bottle of some cheap beer in his raised his eyebrows at me. For no good reason I stopped and stared at them. Now I know why I stopped and it’s because it closely resembled the scenes of a life that I was trying to forget about.
“Hey, do you wanna come up to my room and see what happens.” The front man said whilst his friends childishly giggled.
Even though this made the whole of my body for a couple seconds involuntarily freeze I quickly rolled my eyes at this awful demonstration of the average everyday drunken man’s flirting techniques and continued walking, thankfully the man, if I can call them that, did not follow me. I looked at my map for the help that I so desperately needed but it did not help me. I saw one hotel that looked welcoming so I thought to myself that I might as well give it a try.
Taking a deep breath and clenching my map I walked up to the door. I turned the knob of the wooden door with hope of a new beginning. However I was greeted by a tall staircase which I guess at the time signified the climb that I had to make and the obstacles that I needed to overcome but in reality it was just another strain on my feet which were already in pain from two days of constant travelling.
I slowly made it up the stairs and upon reaching the top I saw two sick like green chairs. I dumped my bag pack on one of the chairs which had previously been glued onto my back. I fell into the other chair and for a second I closed my eyes and had a deep sigh of relief. This was the only second of silence that I could remember from the past couple of days and I truly wanted to relish in it.
“You unfortunately can’t sleep there.” I heard a voice say. I dismissed this voice not thinking of what or who it could be and fell further back into my seat.
“Would you like a bedroom, the beds there are more comfortable.” The voice said again.
Realising that this was not a voice in my head I quickly sprung up to see a sheepish middle aged man behind a desk.
“Sorry! It’s been a long journey.” I said trying to recover my image with the receptionist.
“Well would you like a room” The receptionist quietly asked.
Getting up with the support of the chairs arms and then bending over to get my bag pack I thought about whether or not I even had enough money to pay for a night at the hotel. So I walked over to the desk and looked for any sign of a price.
“Erm yes I would and how much is it for a night?” I nervously asked.
“What, do you want a room for tonight?” He asked me back with a puzzled face.
“No, I want it for next year of cause I want it for tonight that’s why I’m here. Why else…” I stopped in the middle of my sentence because I could see that my sarcasm wasn’t biding well with him and he seem very uncomfortable and somewhat agitated.
Clearing my throat and adopting a more serious tone to suit the situation and the man I was talking to I said “Yes, I want a room for tonight.”
The receptionist sat down and looked through some papers on his desk while the room fell completely silent. I couldn’t help but stare at him because I really needed a room if at and this late into the hotel had no room I had no place to go.
“Well it’s short notice and it’s the middle of the night. But there is a room.” He said very slowly.
“Oh! Thank you. Thank you so much.” I burst out in excitement. However he gave me a stern stare that reminded me that he was not the type of man that enjoyed my excitement and humour.
“We have one room, on the top floor, it’s a king size bed but its only free for one night” he informed me.
“Ye, that’s fine” I paused I got a very unsettling feel from which made asking him about the price even more of a nerve wrecking dilemma. Obviously I was going to pay I didn’t want to start this new life with the habits of my past one. Yet I didn’t want the embarrassment of having to walk out of the door because I couldn’t afford a room at a low class hotel in the worst street I had ever seen, which means a lot.
“Well how much is it a night?” I asked with great fear.
“This room is $15 per night” For the room that he described I was shocked but I wasn’t going to let him see me showing any emotion because when I has previously in this conversation and he did not react well to it. I had some money in the inner pocket of my jacket and it was $35 in $5 notes. I pulled out the crumpled notes and drew out three notes and put the rest back into my pocket. I then put the $15 onto the desk.
He looked at the money then looked at me. He bent down, opened the draw of his desk and pulled out a key. “Here you are.” He said passing the key to me. “It’s the room on the top floor to your left and your check out time is 1pm”.
I grabbed the keys out of his hands and turned away and made it for the stairs. The stairs were next to two chairs that looked like the one I had earlier nearly fallen asleep on, a coffee table that still had some coffee on it and a bookshelf with titles that I never heard of before. These steps were steeper than the last ones and due to walking up a stupid amount of stairs I found that each floor was narrower than the other and each set of stairs were steeper than the last. Finally I made it up to the last set of stairs and I tried to use the railing for support but shortly discovered that if I was to do this I would end you at the bottom of the stairs. I made it up the stairs with putting my hands on the stairs in front of me.
When I did make it up the stairs I noticed that the gap between the railings of the stairs and the door of my room was virtually non-existent. I opened the door of my room and I was so happy that I hadn’t eaten for the last couple of days and due to this I was able to make into the room.
When I did go into the room I understood why the room was at such a low price. There was no natural lighting and the lighting that they did have was faulty as it was continuously flickering. I tried to open the windows that were on the side of my room that pointed to the building next door. They were hard to open and when they did open they couldn’t fully open as if you tried then it would slam the wall of said building next door.
I also discarded my bag pack onto the floor and went into the bathroom. The bathroom was basic to say the least. As soon as I opened the door I was in reaching touch of the shower, toilet and sink but at least I had a bathroom.
Even though I wanted to have a shower I was too tired to do anything but sleep. I had a long camouflage jacket, beanie, white t-shirt, boots and a pair of skinny jeans, which had got dirty through my travels. So I was eager to get changed quickly. However when I looked into my bag all that I had were two t-shirts, two pair of leggings, a sweater and some underwear. I got changed and free falled onto the bed. This wasn’t the best idea as on impact with the bad I could hear one of the boards of the bed brake but to me this made no difference as I was too happy that I finally had a bed to sleep on.
As soon as I was about to go to sleep I exposed another reason why the room was cheaper than the room the receptionist described. It started with small noises, the occasional moan and groan. Then it quickly escalated into full on screaming and if I had not heard the previous noises I would have assumed that there was a murder going on in the room on the other side of the small corridor.
At this point I could have done what most normal people would have done. I could have cried that I was in the worst part of a new town in a hotel with a receptionist that to put it nicely was a creep. I also was in a room in which I had broken the bed on arrival and a couple (or maybe there were even more people involved) were screaming like there was no tomorrow.
Nevertheless I laughed. I laughed because I had finally escaped the abyss that I was in and I, at the time, was optimistic about my new beginning even though I had no idea of what I would do with this new life.