Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sunday Dec 15

[no entry today]


The hotel is up town not far from headquarters. A Christmas decoration, a wreath of green leaves hangs from its eaves, three flags hang there too one the American flag and two I do not recognize. A young man dressed like a soldier opens the door. Another youth dressed the same stands in the lobby, it is a small hotel and the lobby also is small, but I admire the workmanship of the bar, a wood bar with brass rails and behind it empty shelves backed by curved panes of frosted glass. Atop the bar is a brass sign, "No Liquor Served" it says.

The train ride here was quiet, H. stared at the straps, spoke little but outside the train her mood brightened, now she speaks to the clerk with great cheer, I am relieved and I remember again how beautiful how lively she is. The clerk knows her it seems he smiles and says welcome young lady, I'm young but maybe not a lady she says and the clerk laughs. His laugh is not real I don't believe he liked her joke. I approach and I stand next to her and offer to speak to him instead and she says don't worry Harry I'll take care of this.

I speak to the boy in the lobby, I introduce myself and learn his name is Thomas. He looks worried, looks over to the clerk, I am not supposed to speak to guests he says and I tell him it is all right I am not a guest, not really. I learn he lives near me in the Irish neighborhood and I say he must think well of Governor Smith, and I ask about his union, if he goes to meetings. I'm not supposed to speak about the union he tells me and we look again to the clerk, but he does not see us, he listens to H. who whispers in his ear. Now H. walks behind the counter, together she and the clerk walk through a curtain to what must be a room beyond.

No one can see you speaking to me I tell Thomas and I remind him of the union I remind him of its advantages. He might have a brother or sister down on his luck, mistreated in the workplace if that happened to you I ask would you not want your brother or sister to come to your aid? If you do not have a brother then the union is your brother I tell him. "My brother cut off his thumb" is his only answer and I see now he is saddened and I am saddened too. There is so much sadness in each life but joy too, great joy he must have, I imagine him at home with his family, his mother his father, his injured brother is no burden for they are all together, together in their warm rooms.

H. does not return for a moment, but I know she does not want me to disturb her so I ask Thomas about the ghost. He tells me he is not supposed to speak about the ghost, this does not surprise me but he tells me more anyway tells me she appears in room 602, people say she kneels in the corner, looks up and holds an arm over her forehead as if to stop a blow but she disappears before the blow arrives and then she is gone. It is not unusual Thomas says, when it happens we move the guests to a suite, we used to give them champagne too but now we only give them chocolate.

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