I took down the ‘Help Wanted’ sign as I left the diner, dropping it on the counter by the door, and Bonnie high-fived me with a laugh.
Standing outside I looked both ways down the street, gripping my battered suitcase as I wondered where the closest motel would be that I could afford. Finally figuring that it was either/or I turned left. I guess my luck was still holding because three blocks later I found one. It wasn’t fancy but it was cheap. I gave the man at the desk my last few dollars to cover two nights and he passed me the room key. “If you need…anything,” he said and the leer on his face told me exactly what he meant. I shook my head and turned away, heading down the hallway to the end where my room was located.
Once inside I tossed my suitcase on the tiny desk and lay down on the bed, staring up at the water spots on the ceiling above me.
“So now what, Blair,” I said to myself. “You’ve made it this far.”
Luckily I didn’t answer myself, at least not out loud. But I did think about the question. I’d been moving around for the last five years, never staying long in one place for long. Why was I on the move? For the same reason I’m talking to a therapist now. The nightmares and what caused them. But the nightmares came later and to talk about them now would be jumping ahead of my story. The day I hit town and Bonnie gave me the job I was just running from the cause.
I fell asleep before I could come to any decision on what came next.
It was dark when I woke up, the flickering light from the motel sign making weird shadows on the wall. I realized I’d gone to sleep in my clothes and really, really needed to shower and decide what to do next. Not long term, just for the next few hours. Stripping, I tossed my skirt and top on the only chair in the room and went into the bathroom. As I waited for the water to warm up I studied myself in the mirror. My blonde hair had a definite bed-head look, as short as it was. It had been longer and dark blonde a couple of weeks ago but, in a moment of insanity brought on when I’d thought I’d seen someone I recognized, I’d cut it into a shaggy do and added light blonde streaks. Actually it wasn’t a bad look and worked with my slender build.
Half an hour later I was dressed again in fresh clothes, a long skirt and high-necked blouse. After adding a light touch of make-up and running the comb through my hair one last time I left my room, going out the back door of the motel to avoid the lecherous desk clerk.