Rooms. Lobby. A new rhythm.
After the flower girl vanished I moved out of the hostel and took a room in a boarding house, Hotel Julian, close to the Port, and a daily rhythm I succumbed to, as if I too were a retired seaman. The Julian was a respectable flop house still resisting gentrification, furnished rooms, and some not so furnished, rented out by the hour, day, week, or month. The rooms were on the upper floors, above a ground level row of retail shops: a corner grocery and liquor store; a one chair barber shop; a narrow tavern, no tables, just a long bar opposite a sandy table shuffleboard, a couple of dart boards against the back wall; a used book store; another shop or office space, its door padlocked and its windows butcher paper covered. The double doors and stairs leading up to the hotel opened off the sidewalk between the tavern and the book shop. At the top of the stairs was a landing with doors left and right. The door left led to the rooms, the door right to the lobby and hotel office. The lobby flaunted two overstuffed couches very hard to climb out of for most of the aged and afflicted in one way or another seamen who primarily made up the boarding house tenants. A card table with four chairs. An overturned whiskey barrel on which was painted a chess board, the pieces housed in a baleen basket, two stools inviting a game. A book and magazine rack, a couple of tourist maps. A corner self help coffee stand, open 24 hours. A sign: No Smoking, No Alcohol, No Food, No Cussing in the Lobby. The front desk and counter, cubbies for keys and notes and mail. The walls paneled in dark mahogany sheets. A few framed black and white photos from the old Port days, the ships and boats and wharfs and the men and women strolling in hats and duds now long out of style. Thick strip clear fir flooring. An absurdly ornate and elaborate chandelier a tall man would have to duck to cross under. Bay windows overlooking the street. I checked in for the week, found my room, threw my duffle bag onto my bed, and walked down to the docks to find some coffee and a plate of bacon and eggs. Thusly my new rhythm began at Hotel Julian.
is episode 20 of
a Novel in Progress
in Serial Format at The Coming of the Toads.
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