"You're back." she stares at us with a big wide grin, the same Australian accent as two weeks ago, the same front desk, the same price. Only this time we have a new room to call ours for days and disappear from the world.
We climb the stairs, giggling like children and clinking our keys back and forth, loaded up with our bags and liquor. The room still smells like varnish, the same way it did two weeks ago. The bed has the same blankets as the room before this one.
Seconds, minutes, hours pass by and the complimentary desk is littered with empties as he and I sit and take turns talking of our childhood, and playing songs that remind us of the past, and of each other. Inevitably, our lips meet in a secret furtive way, tongues dancing, and the kissing becomes more and more frantic.
When did it become this need?
We shed our clothing as the sun sets, and the window is open. On the street passerbys are walking to and from work, events, errands, and upstairs on the fourth floor we are hiding beneath the sheets, panting frantically, and eager to keep going.
Is there more to this than just fucking?
Afterwards we put our clothing back on and crack the one beer that we always save for afterwards. We drink it back quickly and walk downstairs with messy hair, clothing askew, and stand on the street having a cigarette. The lady at the front desk smiles at us as she always does.
I never noticed just how beautiful his eyelashes were until this point, when I'm standing next to him shivering in the snow and so painfully aware of the stars. His glasses hide them away most of the time, and when he smiles his eyes wrinkle, like he's already an old man.
My breath, mixed with cigarette smoke, lingers in the cold late winter air and I cannot help but sit and contemplate what is slowly becoming a routine that I am finding myself craving.
"What?" he asks, with his damned smile and eyelashes.
"Nothing." I reply like always.
"Stop saying nothing." he takes my hand in his and looks straight into my eyes. "Just tell me what's on your mind."
A thousand thoughts start flying. Questions.
Is this just fucking? Am I just a good lay to you? Why would you spend all of this time travelling to see me, if I meant nothing to you? What do I mean to you? Please stay another night? Do you feel anything for me?
He stands there holding his cigarette in one soft hand, my hand in the other, waiting for a response, anything.
I exhale my cigarette smoke and ask, "Are you hungry?"