For this story to make sense, read:
I was hyperventilating as I got into the car so it took me awhile to realize that the ride to the hotel took about 2 minutes, but the ride back to where I was staying was taking more than ten minutes. Then we pulled up to a hotel I didn’t recognize.
“I am not staying here.”
“It has a nice fountain, go inside and look at the fountain. Next to it is a little cart, ask for a special sandwich to go.”
If he had asked me to scoop a frog from the fountain and eat it – I would have. I had passed way beyond my mental strength, beyond understanding and beyond caring – nothing made sense, nothing would ever make sense again. I had left a slew of handsome men who were flirting with me for hours, walked through walls, seen a woman bend mental and now I was supposed to be enjoying scenic hotels at 11:45pm. Fine. Next up: flying on a broomstick, transfiguration, defenestration, mummification – it was all the same to me.
I walked into the lobby, yes indeed there was a nice fountain, ordered and pay an exorbitant amount for a “special sandwich” and returned to the car.
Jackson took me back to my hotel and told me that I was not to answer the phone, not to read any messages left for me and to be back at the entrance at 10am.
As I walked in, two women got up and moved towards me, “We are taking the dress,” one said and I stopped, expecting to be immediately disrobed in the lobby.
Each one took one of my arms and walked me to the elevator, one took my room key from the dress’s pocket, swiped it and pressed the right floor number, the other took the bag with the sandwich.
Once inside my room, they pulled the zipper off the dress and bundled it into a bag. I thought that was it and I was free but one led me to a chair and began pulling at my hair, oh yes, of course, the extra hair pieces and combs. The other leaned over and applied a cream to my face, so I had to close my eyes. As one continued to tug at my hair, I could hear the other moving about my room and the sound of furniture being shifted.
Then one of them pulled me up out of the chair and before I could protest, had unclipped my bra. She tugged at my underwear but I clutched it with both hands. I tried to open my eyes, but the cream stung so I just stood there, unable to see or understand what was happening. I heard the shower start, then one on each side, they led me into the shower.
As the hot water fell over me, one said something I couldn’t understand and there was silence.
I started trying to wash my face but gave up and stood uselessly under the water for a long time. Then I managed to turn the water off and get into the hotel robe. I looked at myself in the mirror – the biggest idiot in the world. I had left the best party I had ever attended, never before or since had so many cute, accomplished men been so interested in talking to me, I snuck out through the women’s bathroom without saying goodbye to the secretary who had invited me and I had taken a shower as two unknown women had ransacked my hotel room.
I had never asked them for proof that they worked for the beauty parlor and… I decided it was best to go look at the room and see the damage done.
The room was in perfect order. The bed was turned down, my nightgown was laid across the foot of the bed, a small table had been dragged next to the window and set up with cutlery, a delicious looking sandwich nicely arranged on a plate with a small pile of cut fruit.
I ate, went to bed and woke up the next morning at 7:30 to Jackson knocking loudly on the door.
When I opened it, he said, “Get dressed in your work clothes, check out and get outside, NOW” and handed me coffee in a paper cup.
So my Alice-in-Wonderland weekend was not over. When I got into the car, he said, “There’s more coffee in the holder and a bowl of fruit – eat and drink and come up with a reason you need to go to the office. Not that you think you forgot to turn off your computer, something to do with the files of one of the companies you are working on.”
So for 45 minutes I sipped coffee and came up with a reason to be at the office. He pulled up just outside the entrance to my building’s parking lot, “When we get to the front, don’t open the door – I will get out and open it. Say to me ‘15 minutes, half an hour at the most, then home to change and the Circle Club for brunch.’ Do not say please or thank you. Say it back to me.”
And I did. We waited there for a few minutes, then he drove quickly to my building. I waited until he opened the door and said the words back to him. I vaguely remember that there was someone, someone I worked with?, nearby but nothing else.
I must have gone in, maybe I saw someone and told them my excuse? And he must have driven me home but I have no other memories. I know I never saw him or May again, but did I ever talk about what happened? Did I talk to the secretary about the party, explain why I left early, thank her? A total blank.
About ten months later I figured out what had happened. When it happened, I had the experience, but the meaning took a lot longer to arrive.
To be continued…