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It's the oddest truth

Almost in that thought, a very chilly wind swept through the gas station lot, and my wet hurting feet where screaming for me to get them warm and dry. My back cried out for relief only a hot shower could soothe and all my muscles could make me think of was a ‘nice warm bed’. I was tumbling that small rock over and over between my finger’s as the towns light’s kicked on, not far away was a motel and it just looked ‘so inviting’ as my leg’s instantly began carrying me towards it. It wasn’t but two block’s from here, and the evening winds had kicked up a wind that chilled me to the bone. My leg’s seem to want to carry me quicker to the light’s, and I was so exhausted from the hard days work, I couldn’t fight the urge, letting them carry me there that much quicker.

Before I even realized it, I was standing at the front desk, the small black stone still in my hand. At first the place seemed empty, thinking if I really wanted to do this,

looking around the lobby.

“Hello sir, can I help you?” A woman’s voice called out as I swung about to see a smartly dressed woman smiling.

over the chest high counter.

“Um, I need a room.” I said, the words almost coming out automatically.

“Yes sir. Are you traveling with anyone?” She asked politely, her name tag read BEVERLY.

“Uh, no. Just me.

“Then a single room?” She half asked.

“Yes. Single room will be fine,” I stated as she looked me over and realized I was either a ‘bum’ or I’d been through hell... I pulled out the cash I’d been paid... She looked at it in a rather shocked way,

“I’ll need a major credit card, or a bank card. We can’t accept cash...” She told me expressly.

“Sure, no problem,” I stated handing her my bank card out of my wallet, placing in the cash.

“Sir, I’ll also require your driver’s license as well...” She eyed me, wondering if I could produce something that matched the credit cards name.

“Sure...” I handed her my driver’s license, and after she visually matched them up, eyeing me and my photo, she smiled proudly at me,

“Okay, if you would... Just fill out this small form, and I run your card, we’ll have you in a room in no time.” She stated as the ‘happy smile’ returned on her face.

“Okay, thank-you.” I said, beginning to look over the form. It basically had asked my name address place of work (which was optional).

I smiled as I filled out the questionnaire. It was just enough time to check my credit status, as she returned to the counter handing back my card asking,

“How long will you be staying with us?” Beverly stated with a bright smile towards me?

“Two days, I think....”

“Yes sir, that will be fine...” She was relieved, in some sort of way.

I hadn’t heard ’half of the barrage that came next, the amenities, the morning meal, checkout times, the local stores and attractions I might be interested in... blah, blah, blah... All’s I knew was that in a very short while I would be soaking under a very hot shower... and falling fast first into a bed...

The key card in my hand and directions to my room, I over heard one more thing, “laundry room at the end of the hallway.” Yeah, I’d need that too... Soon enough, I’d be fast asleep. ‘Damn this has been a strange day.’

There was a call I had to make... My girlfriend. It had been over a week, and I as of yet hadn’t told her anything. My phone, ruined by the apartment fire, hadn’t allowed me to call. I had tried at my friends house a few times, and once at the church... neither rang though..

It was the third ring and she answered. She was ‘so glad’ I’d called. She had heard about the Apartment building burning down, as I explained that ‘everything’ of ours was ruined. That I had, with the help of my friend, already moved anything ‘savable’ into a small shed behind his house. She asked about her graduation gown and tassel... ruined... her moms jewelry.. saved.. paperwork.. wet but saved..

This list though was favoring more loses than wins... as she now got to how was I holding up. My throat grew tight, as I knew she wouldn’t like any of this news., Taking a deep breath, I laid out my last week... Outside a few ‘oh my god’, there was a lot of complete silence.

“So, we don’t have a car?” She said.

“No.... Well, not one that run’s... if we get it out of ‘impound’ that is...” I almost laughed.

“And you have no job?” She stated a bit leery.

“Honey, I ‘worked’ all day today... Made over four hundred and fifty dollars today... Plus, I unfroze the account and placed three hundred and fifty dollars in it today, we’re going to be okay...promise!”

“Oh, so that’s why my card was declined the yesterday?” She reasoned.

“Sorry about that... I honestly been stuck in survival mode for over the last week...”

“So, where did you get all this money from?” She asked.

I was about to go into the little black rock thing, but decided not too... I just explained that I’d been working a ‘temp’ job and hunting around for a full time position. She had accepted that, she was just glad she could use the card again...

“Yeah, try not to use the card ‘too much’, I still have the need to acquire us another place...”

“Another place...?” She seemed to drift away from the conversation..

“How’s your family?” I asked, hearing her realizing she’s just lost... Everything.

“Not good, families starting a bunch of ‘in fighting’, Both mom and dad deserve better,.. I’m just, all my stuff... ” She almost lost it about all her stuff having gone up in smoke.

“It will be ‘Okay’, Just ‘stuff’... We’ll just see what happens... We’ll work this out, you work that end, I’ll work this end... worse comes to worse... we meet in the middle.” I told her. She agreed this would be the best plan.

With our ‘love’ confessed to each other, it was time to end the call. I told her I’d buy a new cell phone, and would be trying to buy another car, again suggesting she try not to hit on the card ‘too hard’. She accepted the restriction, not really needing anything. Besides,she stated that her relatives were gladly buying her anything she needed. We bantered back and forth our love for each other, and soon with ‘love you’ traded in a game type way, the receiver was hung up.

There’s nothing like hot water, when every bone in your body is locked up or your muscles are crying from pain. Like everybody does, I got undressed. I hadn’t realized it, but all these clothes were soaked! My feet hurt ‘so bad’ when I took off my shoes. And realized ‘why’ when I peeled off my first sock... So wet were my feet, the ‘wrinkles’ had begun to split open. My socks were a dingy orange around the toes... And the second the ‘air’ hit it, my eyes spun around in my head from the pain. The second sock removal was a true challenge...

The water in the shower on, I realized that ‘hot’ was not what my body required, ‘tepid’ was more the temperature. Of everything, I finally laid in the shower, my feet out of the spray as I slowly made it hotter and hotter. Finally, the heat had began to penetrate my bones. I never realized I was so cold. I realized that if I’d just fell asleep under the cover’s without doing this. I of caught pneumonia my morning.

There was ‘no way’ my body would have recovered the body heat required to stay healthy. My bone marrow was literally frozen. The bathroom had streamed up to a swirling thick fog. The steam still held heat, it felt like a moist blanket around me.

Finally, out of the tub... walking ‘gingerly’ across the carpet, my feet felt as if I was walking through acid. I crawled up onto the bed. Climbing under the sheets, (wrapping a dry towel around each foot). I clicked on the TV, finally resting, my back still sore from the hard day’s work. I realized I had gotten eight ‘hundred’ dollars in one day. That was like three paychecks at my last job...

Well, that was till I fell asleep. I begun ‘dreaming’ to the likes of which I had never done before in my life.

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