When they arrived at the table Kate saw that the bellhop was carrying a large binder of information. “Obviously, you don’t have time to read all of this, but these are the rules of this hotel. Some of them won’t apply in most circumstances, but you are responsible for following these rules.” That seems like a lot, she replied. “It is a lot.” “And people will check up on you to make sure that you follow them?” “Yes, they will.” “And I have to clock in and clock out like a regular job?” “Yes, that’s right?” “Will I be alone in this hotel?” “Probably there will be some people who come to help you out, but if your experience is like mine you will probably be alone for a long time.” “I don’t know if I can bear being alone for decades like you were.” “I know.” “Where will you go?” “I have no idea where I am going. It’s been so long since I’ve been anywhere else that I can hardly remember anything of what happened in my life before.” “Why don’t they give more warning about this sort of thing?” “I don’t know.” “One would hope that one would be able to get warning if you were going to a new place after decades.” “My guess is that the management here operates on a need to know basis and when they don’t believe that someone needs to know they don’t tell them.” “That makes sense,” she said, agreeing with him. No one told her where they were, after all, and she felt it unlikely that she was going to get very many definite answers. She knew enough to know that she wasn’t going to be going anywhere for a while, more than likely, and she knew that she would have to resign herself to that even if she was not very enthusiastic about it. She figured that the same was the case for him, that he had resigned himself to a solitary existence only to find himself enjoying his time with others around only to have it taken away from him so quickly. Life wasn’t fair sometimes, this she knew, even though it had been pretty kind to her.
After a bit of an awkward pause in the conversation, the bellhop closed the large folder and set it aside. “The Sabbath is coming soon and it is strictly forbidden to deal with work matters on the Sabbath.” “What do you mean? It’s Friday evening.” “Yes, that it is,” he said, but this hotel operates under the biblical system of time, so from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset there is no work permitted here, and they will know what you are doing.” “Is it like that Christmas song? They know when you’ve been bad or good–” “Yes, like that.” “How do they know?” “How much do you know about the omniscience of God?” “I’ve never been very religious.” “Well, this particular place operates under the principle that nothing you do, say, or think is private, and that you are dealing with management that knows your thought. To be sure, the management is generally lenient and kind, but still, it is rather alarming to see that there is no private space that you have to yourself.” “I would find that uncomfortable.” “Most people would. We are always aware that there are parts of our character that we would not want to display to the world or to anyone that we would rather keep private inside of ourselves, but it is not possible for this to be so. For every deed, word, and thought we are subject to judgment. Even where there is mercy one has to admit that this is a serious standard of judgment by which we all fall short.” “I would agree.” “We do have such serious conversations sometimes. I suppose it is the circumstances, but I would also guess that I am a fairly serious person and that I tend to bring seriousness wherever I go.” “Is it hard for you to be lighthearted?” “It always has been, but I suppose that blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” “I hope I provide some comfort for you.” “You do,” he said.
At this he started, as if he remembered something. “Is there anything you’d like to eat tonight? It’s a bit too late for cooking, as the Sabbath is coming, but is there anything you’d like?” “I’m not really hungry tonight,” she said, “but I would enjoy some finger snacks.” “I think that can be arranged.” He zipped into the kitchen as was his fashion and came out with a plate of meat and cheeses and vegetables along with some mozzarella sticks and marinara sauce. “Does this work?” “I believe it does.” “That’s good.” And they ate for a while, enjoying the appetizers and thinking in the course of their silence. After a few minutes they were done eating and the bellhop rinsed the dishes and put them in the machine for the last time. After that he returned to the table and they could talk at leisure with nothing relating to either food or work to distract them. “What would you like to do tonight?” “I figured we could probably talk, maybe kiss and cuddle a little.” “That sounds good to me.” “Your room or mine?” She thought about this for a bit. Let’s try your room, since we’ve spent so little time there. “It’s a bit too small for my tastes, but it might be more private than your room room, so I suppose we can go there if you wish.” “I would enjoy that very much.” They got up from the table and held each other around the waist as they exited the restaurant towards the lobby, where the bellhop deposited the binder of rules and regulations on its usual place. When they arrived at his room and he opened the door, she thought she noticed Ashley inside. Thinking quickly, and trying to protect her friend from an awkward and unpleasant scene, she quickly commented, “Maybe we should try my room?” He shrugged and closed the door, and they walked together in some silence to her room. She was hoping that she wouldn’t expose herself for the reason for her turnaround, and he was more placid, pondering that he has always found women to be mysterious and unusual and that it shouldn’t stop now. When they reached her room she opened it, knowing that they would have some privacy for a little while at least, and they sat down on her bed next to each other, with their arms around each other’s waists and her head resting on his shoulder.
“Where did Ashley go?” he asked somewhat idly. “I don’t know,” she said. She hated to lie to him, but she felt it would be too uncomfortable for her to say the truth, that she thought that Ashley had been snooping around in his room. Perhaps it was silly to think that he should be denied a truth that she supposed the beings in charge of this mysterious and somewhat creepy place would know, but she did not want to be the bearer of bad news. She wanted, as much as possible, for him to be without worry, and she knew that if he suspected that Ashley was going through his things that he would have a great sense of alarm as to what she might be looking for and would respond in unpredictable ways. Besides, if this was to be their last night together, and she honestly believed that to be the case, she wanted him to be able to enjoy it as much as possible. If she had to bear a bit of a burden for lies of omission and not saying everything that she knew or suspected, she figured that was a burden that she would bear herself. She had borne the burdens of Ashley’s lack of concern for other people and for privacy and decorum and morality for so long that she did not even realize the lack of wisdom in that she was doing. Perhaps a person who was more alert and aware might have thought that covering for the folly of Ashley had already cost her her physical existence on earth through their car accident that horrifying Saturday night and that she should learn a bit of wisdom from the experience, but people are slow in learning wisdom and sometimes must develop the best way of looking at situations at considerable effort and over a great length of time. Our lives and deaths would generally be better if we learned wisdom earlier and at less cost to ourselves, but since folly comes naturally to fools and must be beat out of them, generally speaking we do not fare very well when it comes to learning at low cost to ourselves. To learn wisdom is no less expensive, even if the currency is different, than most of the education that we borrow funds for and pay off at length and at such great cost to ourselves and our peace of mind.
The two of them were both of an oppressed mind and soon laid on their sides and held each other silently. They both seemed to draw some sense of comfort from being face to face even if they were not making out or anything else that would have been considerably more active. Just to feel each other’s heartbeats beating in time as they held each other close was enough. Neither of them was the sort of person who demanded more than gentle and mild affection. Even had concerns about morality as well as the rules of his former job not weighed on his mind, the bellhop was a rather timid person when it came to intimacy and Kate was hardly more experienced than she was. Neither of them was going to push things far even knowing that this was their last night to spend time with each other. They both had a touch of innocence about them although they were oppressed by different thoughts that weighed on them at this moment. The bellhop was oppressed by the concern about the unknown, and about the abruptness and seeming lack of justice of being ripped from everything he had become familiar with to go into the unknown that he knew nothing about. He was not a man who liked surprises and was even more than most people a creature of habit, and what was happening to him was sending him into terra incongnita, something that he was definitely uncomfortable about to the highest degree. For Kate’s part, she was oppressed by the nagging feeling that her lack of candor concerning what she thought she had seen was the wrong choice and that there might be some sort of negative repercussions for it. She hoped it was not the case but she feared that it was, and since she did not like this fear, she was hoping that she could push it on her. She was also somewhat oppressed by the thought that she was soon to be alone in this hotel. She wondered what would happen to Ashley, even though she knew that the bellhop would be going somewhere else, wherever it was that he was going.
The two of them laid face to face, his hands running himself through her hair, their noses nuzzling each other gently. She was certainly not a very experienced lover, but she had to admit that she loved the way it felt. She may have been dead, or so it was that he had told her, but she felt alive. His nose nuzzling hers felt the same as it had any of the other times she had cuddled with a guy. She supposed that whatever rules governed her existence here that she felt as if she was a human being and looked like a human being. She did not look like she had been massively scarred from her accident. Truth be told, he did not look as if he had lived for decades all by himself after having shot himself in the chest to end an existence that had become unbearable. It would have definitely killed the romantic mood if he had looked decrepit or decayed. She remembered when she had seen Twilight, even if she was a bit embarrassed about it now, that the inappropriate romance did not bother her or most people because he looked young even if he had been seventeen for a long time. She supposed it was the same for the bellhop. He looked like he was in his mid 30’s, maybe even 40 given the fact that he was fairly bald, but he hardly looked like a centenarian and he hardly acted like one either. He had not seemed to be popping Viagra during their dates or making references to the 1920’s or anything else that would have felt inappropriate. If he was a decade older than her, he didn’t seem to act like he was an old man, except for being somewhat a creature of habit and for being timid like one would be if one had spent a very long time alone with nothing but your own tormented mind and the company of books to break the solitary existence. She supposed no one would fare very well under those circumstances, certainly not her. She was so lost in thought that she didn’t hear the sound at the door that signaled to them both that Ashley had returned from her evening wandering. Perhaps it was for the best.