valentine special.

I take a cab from the airport. I never take cabs but there it is, I take a cab. The airport is not far outside this town and the bus is only twice a week. I explain in german were I'm going - well, I say a hotel name and a street name in german - and sit down in the backseat. He asks me something I don't understand so I look out the window to the right. Hotel Daniel, he says, as if it were his idea, and starts whistling.

It's Valentine's day and I'm on my way to a hotel where she's waiting for me. I haven't seen her in a month and don't really know what to expect, but expects everything. It's not a day we used to celebrate, thinking we were to good for it. We had Valentine's day, everyday. I booked the hotel. It looked good in pictures and had a valentine special, wich involves, aside from rose petals on the bed, dinner in the lobby. Fondue. We get to choose which night. I'm going to let her choose. I think it's their idea of romance. To couple up, and while dipping fingers in simmering oil look deep into each others eyes through the mist from frying pieces of meat.
We've entered the city now and I look outside, seeing myself in store windows. I don't recognize myself, picking up my phone all the time. Finally I call and she answers. She sounds happy but with a cold and I wonder whether she's closer now than yesterday or if the distance is even relevant. I don't say anything though. I say I missed her, and see you soon. We're going to hug and this hug is going to turn everything around. Put everything right again. I'm going to hold on for dear life and cry a little because this feels so huge and we have rounded a corner, heading in the same direction again. That kind of hug. We'll see.

I pay the driver and step out, bag over shoulder, looking for her. The hotel is an old sixties building, renewed. It looks good. With this I haven't failed. I stand there waiting, not wanting to enter alone, playing back scenes of the reunion. All the while watching myself from outside, not needing a mirror to know how I look, but using one to worry. Is my cap on right? Is the bag casually slung or desperately thrown over my shoulder? I probably have airplane food all over my teeth, I think, moving my tounge acroos my front teeth. Nothing.
In one of my rehearsed scenes she comes toward me without seeing me. I wait till she sees me, face beaming, her steps quickening, not running. When I know she's seen me standing, cap on just so, bag thrown across the shoulder, real casual, I start walking, all but running, dropping the bag on the ground. We collide in perfect stride and she whispers something in my ear when I hug her like never before. Longer.
Instead, she doesn't see me until she's two steps away, she smiles but not like before, kissing me on the cheek, while I'm standing there, arms hanging, bag casually over shoulder. It's beginning to hurt my arm.

I hold the door for her. She walks in ahead of me and steps up to the front desk. Guten tag, you booked the valentine special? My next rehearsed scene crash-lands right there. The one where she's in the background while I - all smooth - pay for the room, charm the front desk, ask them to send a bottle of champagne to the room (or at least something bubbly). Then I carry her four floors, kicking the door open with my foot, and throw her on the bed. On the rose petals. Instead, we go to the room like two children, set up by wellmeaning parents, why don't you show her your stamp collection.

She lies down on the bed, tired, brushing away a few rose petals. She opens a magazine she read on the train. I feel like a small dog, seeing a big one. Yapping, circling the bigger one looking for attention, knowing it will eat me if I get it, wanting it anyway. Just a little. I ask if I can be a fly on the wall instead, and of course I can, sure. Sitting there, looking down with compound eyes, I see a thousand pictures of her.

All of them smiling, but none of them looks at me like before.

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