The room was meant for a family, so it was strange to see her alone. At least, I couldn’t see or hear any other guest from the hallway. I could see the king-sized bed, which looked much smaller under the high ceilings and surrounded by the vast wooden floor. From my short stint in housekeeping, I knew that to her side was a bathroom laid in marble. Its sink and deep tub would be dotted by brass fixtures — delightfully and unnecessarily complex. Beyond her were brick walls painted a soft white, and next to the bed would be two large linen sofas. I knew from cleaning these sofas that they’d often be assigned to children.
To my surprise, she didn’t even look at the contents of my cart, instead waving me through immediately. My trolley held an avocado toast with fried egg, pomodoro salad, a large pot of coffee, two chocolate croissants, and a single piece of pistachio cannoli. The cannoli alone was the same price as a dinner of chicken skewers & pita at the Greek restaurant across the street. For the privilege of my delivery, she would also be assessed a large gratuity charge. It was not a light order. I pushed the trolley to the closest sofa and began to leave, noticing there was no luggage around, only a small purse.
“I understand you can find me a massage therapist?” she said.
“Of course. We have a room downstairs, or we can have them come up to-”
“I’d like it done here, thank you.”
“It’s going to be an additional-”
She took a seat on a sofa but made no move for anything on the trolley. One of her legs began tapping.
“That’d be all, thank you,” she said, and the side of her lips were bent upwards but her eyes remained frostily still.
“Well… usually we have an appointment set, or some time range when you’ll be here.”
“Bring them up as soon as possible.” The leg stopped tapping.
“Will do,” I said, bowing my head slightly and keen to leave the room.
Not a couple hours after her breakfast I was called up again. This time my trolley carried a bottle of wine and two glasses. Again, she was alone, although now she only wore a shawl collar robe. The cloth belt was tied tightly around her waist, as if wrapped around a wound.
She took the bottle from me and inspected the label.
“This is the best you have?” she said.
“Yes, that’s the Antinori Tignanello, and I heard it’s a splendid red.” I was still a year away from being able to drink, although some guests didn’t realize that.
She clicked her tongue and closed the door, leaving me and the trolley of wine glasses in the hallway. Back in the lobby, I joked with Sam about her appetite. We thought that she must be an actress or famous figure. He fiddled with the front desk computer.
“It says here the room was booked yesterday by a ‘Vincent’. You didn’t see her husband?”
I would visit her again and again that day, her only guest, bringing her dinner, bath amenities, and a copy of The New York Times. In the morning she was gone.
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