Saturday, March 13, 2021


 The last presentation is over and we mill out the doors into the twilight. The cement stairs reflect heat up through the soles of our shoes as we descend toward the street. The Uber back to the hotel is silent, our briefcases askew on our laps, conference program sticking out at an edge and I don't care.

Back at the hotel I wave as I get out of the elevator. You nod, a weary lift-and-release as you lean against the glass back of the elevator car, the plants of the lobby visible behind you like supporters on a coat of arms. The doors seem tired as the close you in.

I fumble with the key card three times before I realize I'm putting it into the door backwards, right it and lay the briefcase on the luggage stand, kick my Keds off leaving one, then the other before the door swings home behind me. The cargo pants and socks come off in one motion and the blouse follows, dropped to the floor like a trail of breadcrumbs heading to the bathroom where I start the tap for a hot bath.

I check my phone for the first time since breakfast: well wishes from Back Home friends, a question about a housesitting gig that happens next week, a random text from a forgotten flame; messages from a foreign land in a language I used to know but don't remember. I'm so full of ideas and conversations that words have lost their meaning. The phone battery light glows red and I drop it on the charging stand as I pick up epsom salt and test the water temperature, then climb in, letting the water coax the muscles of my back to uncringe. 
Only music makes sense now.

What an excellent day.