Monday, January 31, 2011

Through The Doors Of That Rented Room

The curtains were already pulled when I got to my room in the hotel in Cork. The better to hide a grim view of the carpark, I thought, lifting them to open the window and breathe. But the room overlooked Shandon cemetery, with its shattered tombstones scattered like broken teeth across the field. I pulled the drapes tight again, suddenly remembering a night I spent camping by the sea in Conamara, years ago. We had pitched our tent by the ruins of an old church where the graves were slowly spilling into the sand. I'd only just met him. We spent two days kissing and smoking grass, and I saw shadows dance on the tent canvas in the dark light of morning. They'd frightened me, and it felt like that fear had followed me back to this dreary budget hotel room in Cork.

When I returned to the room after dinner I switched all the lights on, put the chain on the door and stripped off and stepped into the shower. The water was freezing, the dial turned so tightly that I had to stand under the stinging spray and use both hands to turn up the heat. I couldn't think why anyone would have had it so cold. To sober up, I supposed. I imagined myself stringy-haired and shivering, sitting on the floor of the bath, and it felt so real that I shuddered with half-remembered fright again, crouching under the warm water. I stayed there, turning the dial til the scalding hot water flushed my skin and scoured the day's worries off my back.

I got a start when I pulled the shower curtain back. Someone had scrawled CUNT across the bathroom mirror and drawn a crude cartoon cock alongside it. The steam from the shower had filled the room and given new life to their graffiti. I left it there. They always scrub it off in horror movies. I turned on the television instead, and fell into bed and a fretful sleep.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like the hotel room I stayed in last year in Cork. Although I didn't write the mirror inscription. What a shithole of a town.

Anonymous said...


emordino said...

1408 2: 1409

(or "Even 1408er"?)

Andrew said...

4 8 15 16 23 42

I can leave gnomic comments with numbers, too.

Anonymous said...

Andrew - like the gnomes of Zurich do you mean? They are probably good with numbers.

Anyway, enough of that. I think this is another near perfect little piece - deserves the 9 out of 10. She is a good writer. Go girl.

Jo said...

Oh Christ. Are people grading blog posts now?

This was eerie, alright. I hope everything's alright.

conortje said...

that gave me a really cold chill - poor thing. But it has also given me a nice idea - I might start leaving happy positive messages in mirrors in hotel rooms - like - 'You CAN do it' or 'Today is going to be wonderful' or ' Go on, have that bar of chocolate you really want'.

Rosie said...

let's hope Kilkenny treats you better, Russ.

oh, Anonnymouse commenters with your nods of approval! i don't quite know how to respond.

i had entirely forgotten about that dreadful film til you mentioned it, Colm. but yes, 1408er.

Andrew, if you remembered the sequence without having to google it then i have already won.

all's well, Jo, i just don't much like travelling for work. re the marks for effort, i doubt it will become a regular feature.

10/10 for Conor. you're a sweet, slightly odd man. x