I awoke each morning in a foreign room, pretending it was my own.
I headed off to the hotel for work each morning, pretending I had purpose.
The day held its own rhythm, it had become a dull, repetitive noise, a banging on the drum to a beat I stopped following in my heart some years ago. The owners kept chasing the potential buyers and with each sale that fell through they lingered longer in their own pub, nursing another glass of their poison. Often I would arrive in the morning only to find signs of the owners having left only a few hours earlier, after cleaning up sick in the garbage can, their dreams crashing down around them.
I knew the feeling. Everyone in this building had crushed dreams. This was the Hotel California of the Canadian West Coast.
Oh, sure, our adoption had now gone through and there was this new addition to our family, which kept things interesting for sure. But the interpersonal relational dynamics of adoption is a hard thing to unpack, and even more difficult to walk out in real life so while there was much joy in experiencing the addition to our family it too was hard. Really hard.
Lunch time came and I instructed the kitchen to make my usual, while I grabbed a local paper and sat in my regular seat.
The same faces filtered into the hotel throughout the days, trying to live their lives – trying to make it through a day. Sadly, some of them climbed the staircases to their suites on the second or third floor, never to come down again. Besides the ones who were murdered I couldn’t help thinking that the others just simply died because of a broken heart.
Is this my future? Is this where I wanted to be? I was a young man with a young family who had already experienced success to some degree but with a change in the wind I was now one of the numbered, cast aside and falling in line with the others who called this place home.
I wouldn’t be judged in this place. This hotel was like a church in that sense but in all the right ways. There was sex, drugs, booze, and every other vice you could think of. It was, of course, their religion, but in that there was love, acceptance, unconditional, no behavioural conditions of enrolment at all. In that sense it was completely different from church. Both, it seemed, had their pros and cons. It was only a matter of choosing what god you wanted to follow.
They held a seat for me. I was welcome to join this broken and cast away family. To take my place in this congregation of cast-aways, each sharing their testimony of broken dreams and crushed lives – finding comfort. At least enough to make it to the next morning. Most of the time.
End of the work day and I gather my things and head out to the parking lot to drive back home. Back home to a house that was not ours, in a neighbourhood that was not ours, in a city that was no longer ours.