White Hotel

January 23, 2007 at 10:30 am (Surrealist Anthology)

Erich Cohn 


When I checked in late one autumn evening, I didn’t know I was the first guest the Hotel had seen in over forty years. The blond receptionist did not show any surprise as I stumbled, still a bit dazed, into the ornate baroque lobby.

 “Beautiful,” I said staring all around me.

“Yes. My name is Michelle. Welcome to the White Hotel.”  

“Can I have a room with a view of the ocean,” I asked

“All of our rooms have a view of the ocean,” she said smiling. “Do you need help with your luggage.”

“No thank you. I didn’t bring any.” 

She smiled, “Of course. Here is your key. Room Nine is at the top of the stairs on the right. If you need anything just call.”

I entered the room and collapsed on the large antique white bed near the windows. I fell asleep listening to the sounds of the waves against the shore, and the cry of an owl.

Rooms?  What rooms?
There are no rooms at this Hotel
Why did she say that?
You can’t remember can you?

It is not so bad being dead, she said. To think of a place is to be there. To desire an object is to have it instantly appear. Everything appears as you would like. The black rivers at your feet speak like ancient oracles. You will learn to love the corners of mirrors.

The ravens on the telephone line
The coyote that stared from the ravine
The wind blowing in circles
The smell of freshly turned soil

You can do a lot she said, but no one ever does. There is no one to impress. No one who needs anything from you. No one to give to. No one who wonders what you did or didn’t do. When people come here, they mostly just sleep.

You are mistaken 
I came only to see the ocean
I want to feel the water against my skin
After a few days I’ll go back

 I’ll only be staying a few days I told Michelle as I walked out to the water. She laughed,

“If you leave, take me with you.”

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