Something had happened on the flight. She couldn’t put her finger on it but she swore that she saw it happen. It was at a point between the drink cart coming down the isle and dinner being given out. She had lost herself in the damn book she brought with her, so she couldn’t catch the moment when it happened.
“Robert, dear. Will you hold on to Patsi for me?” The woman passed the dog over to Robert. Who names their dog Patsi?
Patricia was now staring at them across the lobby floor in a Paris hotel. What were the chances that they were staying in the same place is such a large city? As a nosy, eavesdropping novelist, she couldn’t keep her eye off this couple. Robert had noticed her looking a few times on the plane over the isle at him. He was a decent look…–no, no, let’s be honest– a really good looking man about her age. How could she avoid gazing?
The woman came back. “Come here, Patsi, watsi… did you miss momma? Let’s go, Robert. I need to lay down.” Robert obediently followed her to the elevator.
It wasn’t that this woman looked pretentious or like a high-class creature. No, she looked quite normal. Maybe it was the fact that they were in Paris that gave her that extra inch under her nose.
The writer sat, slouched in the leather lobby chair. She looked around, impressed. Her publisher had actually set her up in a great hotel this time. It always surprised her that she got the shabbiest of hotels in Denver and Santa Monica, but in a different country, she got something relatively decent.
Patricia wanted to follow the couple up to their room. There was something that went ary and she wanted to figure it out. Before the flight, Robert seemed more talkative and there was a sense of kindness in their eyes toward each other. Now, it looked as if there was a wall up between the two; Robert acted like a shamed dog who had peed all over the $50,000 Oriental rug.
The curiosity was killing her as it did every time. She couldn’t help her sense of gossip; it got her the greatest stories to tell. How could she set aside her want of knowing everyone else’s business?
She looked around. Patricia grabbed her wallet and walked up to the concierge desk. “Sir, I think that woman that just went up the elevator dropped her wallet,” she said holding up her own black wallet for the man to see.
“Oh, is that so? I’ll take it up to her…”
“No need,” she said. “I’m about to go up to my room, just tell me her room number and I will take it up to the woman. It won’t be a problem.”
Patricia smiled her cheesy smile, hoping that her way of putting that into a sentence in her butchered French would make it seem like she was doing him a favor.
The concierge looked through the computer. “Room 1245,” he said. She looked down as if to curtsy. As she walked toward the elevators she wondered what she was going to do once she got up there. It isn’t as if she could just knock on the door and asked why their marriage was on the rocks.
As soon as she got off the elevator, she didn’t have to knock on the door to know what was wrong. It seemed that as beautiful as the hotel was, the walls were paper thin.
“I just think that it’s best that you leave and go back to her since you told her,” said the woman.
“But I didn’t tell her,” said the man, “she found out! She saw the text message you sent me.”
Patricia stood next to the fanciful little table in the hallway, stunned. Was that their room? She walked by as if she had somewhere to go, glancing over at the numbers on the door. It was their room!
“Well at this point, I take the blame but I just can’t deal with knowing that your wife knows about me. It makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong,” said the woman. Patsi barked. “Hush, Patsi. Have a treat, baby.”
“Well, Susan, you know it is wrong what we’re doing. She got suspicious when I told her I was coming out to Paris for work. I don’t even have an office out here,” said Robert with a shaky voice. “I left her crying. What kind of person does that?”
“We had already paid for the tickets,” said Susan. “There was no way to get a full refund anyway and we have been planning this for months.”
Patricia couldn’t believe it. That’s what it was. The invisible person in between the two was a wife! Incredible! Some time on the plane, Robert had told Susan that his wife had speculated an affair.
A door opened down the hall and Patricia jumped around as if she was standing on hot coals, not knowing which way to go or which way to turn. She ran back to the elevators and stood up straight as if she was waiting for it to come and get her, although she really wanted to be standing outside door 1245 listening to her real life soap opera.
She smiled at the woman who had come out of the door down the hall who was also waiting on the elevator. Right as the elevator hit the 11th floor, Patricia looked through her purse. “Oh, shoot,” she said. “I forgot my key!” The other woman asked if she should hold the elevator. “Oh, no! Go ahead. Thank you though!”
Patricia walked around the corner and waited for the elevator doors to close to walk back by room 1245.
“Stop crying, Robert! What kind of man cries over something like this?” yelled Susan.
“I never thought I was going to deceive my wife in this way. Look at me,” he sobbed. “I’m in a city with another woman. A city that my wife always wanted to visit. My wife who has only been good to me all of these years!”
This was too good. Patricia pulled her voice recorder out from her bag. She needed to get this. It would make for a great story line in her next book.
“I really can’t take you anymore,” said Susan in a calm, condescending voice. “You are a pathetic man. You couldn’t even keep your word to me when you said you were going to leave her. It is incredible to me that anyone would marry you.”
Robert cried harder. Well, Patricia thought, piecing together an elaborate story line in her head, Susan had nothing to hide anymore. She had no obligation to Robert and if she was just the girlfriend, she was going to leave him high and dry to do whatever he pleased. Right now, it seemed as though Robert was on his way back to his wife.
At this point, Patricia had made herself comfortable sitting outside the door, crouching and holding her voice recorder to the crack under the door.
“How could you say that? After everything I did for you…” said Robert sniffing. “You never appreciated anything. You just used me.” He was clearly angry.
There was a movement, Patricia heard clacking on the floor; shoes pacing. “I… I can’t take it,” said Robert. “I have to back to my wife. I can’t not. I mean, look at you. I spent all my money on this trip because you used me, you made me believe that you cared, that you loved–”
The slap was so hard, Patricia jumped out of her trance. She dropped the voice recorder and it clanked on the wooden floor. Oh, no! That was it. She scrambled to grab it then got up acting as if she was walking past the door.
“I’m going to take Patsi for a walk. I expect the hotel to be paid through the week and I also expect you to be gone and back in your sad wife’s arms, Robert. It was a pleasure knowing you,” said Susan.
With that, the door unlocked itself and as Susan walked out, Patricia walked by in the opposite direction toward the stairwell. “Hello,” she said to Susan as she brushed by her.
“Hello,” said Susan.