Day Four: The Bellhop
When he woke up he was laying on his back and Kate was snuggled on top of him. The sun was not too high in the sky, so it means that he still had time to get ready for his day. He kissed Kate on the head and before too long she woke up and smiled dreamily at him. “You stayed.” “Of course I did. But now I have to get to work, so would you like me to walk you back to your room?” “That would be lovely,” she said with a smile as she rubbed her eyes. He rubbed his eyes a little, but he had slept better than he had in decades. He hadn’t had a nightmare the previous night like the ones that had plagued him as long as he could remember. He had forgotten how good it was to get a blessed night of sleep, and how rare good sleep was for him. It reminded him of that passage in Psalms that stated that God gave his beloved sleep, one of those reasons he always wondered if he was indeed beloved of God. He knew how many people took such a thing for granted, how they believed in God’s love even if they were ragamuffins who never rose above the mire, and he knew how others believed that they could earn the love of God through their good works, their generosity, and so on. He was not in either of those camps. He knew that one could not earn love, and he also knew that he was not someone who easily felt loved, certainly not when he was by himself and all he had were night visions to plague him. Enough of that, though, he thought to himself as first Kate got up and then he did and he led her down the elevator once again to the first floor. They were not really in the mood to talk, they were both too tired to say anything coherent, they had their arms around each other’s waists and Kate opened the door when she got there, and then after a quick kiss and a shy goodbye the door was closed and she was gone.
He walked back to his room and looked at the clock. He still had enough time to read a bit, shower, and go to work without any trouble. He smiled to himself and thought that if he had nights like that more often, just with someone close by to hold, that the night would be far more enjoyable than it often was. He got to his reading for the day and there was a passage that stuck out to him: “Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation? If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. In Damascus the governor, under Aretas the king, was guarding the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desiring to arrest me; but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands.” No one would ever say that Paul was anything other than loved by God, and yet his existence had been a difficult one. There is no doubt that he made life hard on himself, but beyond that there was certainly a lot that he had to worry about. If Paul had that tough of a time, and could boast about it as evidence of God’s workings in his life, how could he do anything else other than boast about it a bit himself. It was with these thoughts that he comforted himself as he prayed and then took a shower and dressed in a clean uniform to begin work for the day.
He went to the desk and did not see any messages that had come for him overnight. That was probably a good sign, he said to himself. He was sure that he would have to send a message updating HR on his ongoing relationship, although he didn’t think there was anything particularly interesting he had to report. He would have to look at that chapter of his employee handbook a bit more when he came back, to make sure what the boundaries were of conduct and what had to be reported. But first he had room inspection to do, and today it was time to look at the fourth floor. He went through all the rooms on the floor in his usual thorough fashion, and he noted that there was something different about the rooms. The keys opened a bit easier than they usually did, and there was some kind of scent in them. He tried to identify the scene. It was almost the scent of some kind of perfume. He made a mental note and reminded himself to comment that the rooms smelled a bit different than they had previously, but that nothing else was different. After he finished investigating every room and finding them all to be at their usual state aside from the slight scent that was different, perhaps it was the scent of fear, Chanel number four, or something like that, he looked at the picture for the floor. He was pleased to see that they had an unusual Van Gogh; he thought it was the prisoners exercising or something like that. It must have cost a fortune, he wondered to himself. And with that he walked down to the first floor and went to his desk.
How was he to word this, he wondered. After thinking for a while, he said something like this: “Re: 4th Floor Cleaning. To whom it may concern, In the course of inspecting the fourth floor this morning I noticed there was a slight scent of perfume, as if someone had been present in the rooms. Nothing was missing or otherwise different about the rooms, however. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to check out the security footage to see if one of my guests had forced an entry into any of the rooms. Regards, __________.” He didn’t think that Kate would do anything of the sort, but he hadn’t seen or heard anything from Ashley in the entire time that he had been here after the first day, and he did not trust her at all. If there was something going on wrong, he had a guess that she would be involved with it. He tried not to be too hard on her. After all, Kate was an attractive young woman and was clearly not the sort of person who seemed to deliberately cause trouble. Ashley, though, belonged to that group of young women who knew they were attractive and had that fact continually brought to their attention, and that was enough to go to the head of most people. He tended to have serious problems with women whose understanding of their own attractiveness gave them a sort of entitlement issue, as if it was some sort of chore to have to pay any attention to someone like him at all, unless there was absolutely no better option or unless there was something in it for them.
Slightly concerned and irritated, he calmed himself by doing a bit of reading from the employee handbook when it came to relationships with the guests. He saw that sexual activity was strictly forbidden, but that activity short of it would still have to reported and judged on a case by case basis. Having heard no response back from his previous message, he resolved to give them an update. He replied to his previous message and typed the following. “Update: After a light meal I took Kate up to the top floor on her request in the employee elevator and we spent the night holding each other–fully clothed–on the upstairs chair and both of us appear to have slept very soundly. Right after waking up I took her downstairs back to her room and prepared for work. I do not believe this constitutes a violation of the employee policy on relations with hotel guests, but I felt it necessary to keep you informed anyway. Regards, ____________.” The message was perhaps a bit more bloodless and formal than he would have preferred, but he did not know how to make issues with HR anything other than formal. He wanted to keep it on a good business level and wanted to avoid feeling personal about the business side of it anyway. After he finished sending the e-mail he looked at the clock and it was already getting to be afternoon already. He thought he should try again with replacing the towels in room #113, as he had been unsuccessful the previous days. He had been too sleepy when they got to the door, and obviously too distracted by Kate, to remember if he had seen the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door today. When he got to the door with the laundry cart he saw indeed that the sign was on the door. That was that, he said to himself and then pushed the cart back to its usual room. Fresh linens would have to wait for another day, he supposed.
When he got back to his desk, it was not too long before he heard the phone ring again. “Hey, It’s me, Kate,” the voice said, as if he could confuse it with anything else. “Did you want to go out again this evening?” “I would love to. I think I’m hungry enough for a full meal tonight.” “That sounds good to me.” “Would you like to show me your room afterward?” He paused a bit. “I’m sure if you want to see it I can show you around. There’s nothing particularly remarkable to see there, though.” “It’s personal, and it belongs to you, and I’m sure it would be enjoyable to see a more personal side of you than your normal bellhop self.” “Fair enough, he said to her. What time would you like me to be at your room?” “How about five o’clock?” “That sounds good. I’ll see you then.” The voice on the other side gave a sound like “muah” and after the usual pleasantries the phone call was done. He thought to himself that his interactions with Kate were remarkably not as awkward as he tended to remember his interactions with others. He did not remember much about life before he was at the hotel, but he remembers being a very self-conscious person who was rather shy when it came to dealing with other people. Certainly that shyness had been cultivated through a lifetime of uncomfortable interactions with others, along with whatever native tendencies he had at being embarrassed. It was probably fortunate for him that he did not remember much, for he was not as timid as he would have otherwise been when he clocked out of work and changed out of his work uniform into some khakis and a polo shirt that would have shown him to be an entirely acceptable professional sort of person outside of his work uniform. She wanted to see the personal side of him without him trying to impress her over overawe here? Well, that is exactly what she would get. With a smile he walked over to her door and gave it his customary knock.