I used to have fantasies of three large men bursting into my house and throwing a sack over me and carrying me out to the back of their car. “Where, oh where, are you taking me?” I’d protest, but only in that 1950’s movie actress feigned fear sort of way. They would drive me to a hotel and carry me up to a dark room where they would throw me down on the bed, rip the phone from the wall, lock to door behind them and say “No use calling calling for help, see? No one can find you, princess, and we’re not going to let you go until the morning.” I’d prop myself up on my elbows, one leg bent, exposed from ‘neath the high slit of my long silk gown and say, “Oh no, whatever shall I do?” Then they’d have their way with me, all the time me half-ass protesting, “No… don’t… stop… A little to the left.”
These days, I have exactly the same fantasy, except now the men throw me down on the bed, rip the phone from the wall, lock the door in front of them and say, “No use calling for help, princess. We’ve taken away your iPhone 5 and your parents, your toddler and your boss can’t find you. We’re going away now and locking you in this dark quiet room and we’re not going to let you go until the morning. We’ll send room service up. Order whatever you want.” I prop myself up on my elbows before collapsing again into the king-sized bed, washed and made by someone other than me, a single tear runs down my cheek. “Thank you,” softly escapes my lips, “For the love of all that is good in this world, thank you.”
I’ve been living back home with my parents for eight months and things have been great. We all get along well. I love my job. I’m occasionally get out and socialize while my parents watch Kiddo. It’s really an ideal situation, in many ways. But I also get up at 5 AM every day and usually don’t sit down again until after 8 PM, not counting driving an hour to and from work. People say, “Oh you must hate that long commute,” to which I reply, “Not at all, it’s the only time I’m ever alone.” Just me and the radio and my Waze. (See? Even then I’m never really alone.)
I’m not someone who needs a lot of alone time. But lately I’ve been craving it more than usual. More that the aloneness itself, I’ve been craving something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. And then I got a call from my best friend from Austin, TX saying he was in town on business and staying at a hotel in the Loop. “You’ve got to come over,” he said, “This executive suite they put me in is ridiculous. There are two-levels.”
I went over and as he opened the door to his suite, I knew instantly what it was that I was craving. Fantasy itself. The play-pretend of possibility. He poured us some wine and we sat on the couch in the living room. We heard thunder. We pulled two armchairs up to the 20-foot window that overlooked the Chicago River, the city rising around us. We sipped our drinks and watched lightning hit the Sears Tower (I refuse to call it Willis, whatchu talking about??) and the rain come down over the fleeing Lollapaloozaers. In that moment, we weren’t us. We were hired assassins, having a drink after going over our plan for the next day. We were feuding cousin heirs to our family fortune, resigned to our loneliness and the bitter entrapment of our Grandfather’s estate; a blessing and a curse, that bastard! We could have been anyone.
I booked a room. Not a suite, mind you. Just a basic room. But it was enough.
I told my mother that what I had done and that I was going to put Kiddo to bed then head downtown for the night. I’d be back in the early morning. She stared at me.
“You’re going… by yourself?” The tone of her voice told me she did not believe that I was going by myself.
“Yes.” I said. I knew what she was thinking. “I wish I could say I was really going to meet a secret lover. But I don’t have a secret lover.”
Her look said she didn’t believe me.
“Why would you do that, then?”
“What? Go to a hotel by myself? I don’t know. To be alone. To relax. To be fancy. It’s like a mini-mini vacation. By myself.”
“Ok, whatever” She was clearly annoyed. “I just don’t… get it.”
I didn’t try to explain. I packed my bag, tucked Kiddo in and hopped in my car.
Oh man. I am writing this from the king-sized bed in the Fairmont Hotel. The same one Obama stayed at on election night. This is my room:
I’m on the 37th floor and my view is pretty awesome. You can totally see into people’s condos, which I love because I’m a total creep.
I texted my Mom.
This was a really, really good idea.
Or… was it?
(to be continued?)