(from an old rough draft of The Outsider)
It’s pouring out. The cobblestones are slick and the alley is narrow and dark and the sky above, that maroon storm-black. There’s smoke and exhaust hanging in the cold air. My breath is thick and the streets shine like glass below the lampposts. My pack is soggy, heavy on my sunken shoulders. The brim of my hat has collapsed around my face and my shoes squeak and ooze water but I can’t afford another cab ride. So I will walk across Bib Rambia Plaza where the cafe’s spill into the pitter-patter of rain. No matter, the seats are full of swanky diners waving their hands about in the delightful act of popping gambas and leaning back with jugs of wine –glug, glug.
Back in the shadows I’m waving through Granada.
The door is locked. A little surge of anger runs from my chest, down my hips and into my feet which kick the door in a sort of angry reflex.
There’s a buzz and a click.
The door now opens with no resistance.
The snot nosed receptionist looks me over.
I walk through the commons while she copies my passport. The computer lab is full and the sofas sink from age and overuse and when I sit down there’s a wave of tobacco that fills my lungs –travelers smoke from another universe, when the world moved about in a sultry haze called the 70’s. It’s charming but also kind of gross.
“No smoking. Here’s your sheets, room key. Anything else?”
“No. Thank you.” I walk off. “Oh, bunk number?”
I climb the stairs and flip the lightswitch.
There’s panic as sheets are pulled over sleepy eyes and grumbles and curses I can’t translate except for their tone which says something like “fuck.”
Lights off, I find my ipod, unlock it and find an empty bunk in the sapphire light. Toss my pack over the railing and swing up.
It’s only 23:00 but i’m not going back out. Nor can I seem to pull myself out of bed to change or brush my teeth and before I can think about anything else my head lands on the hard pillow and I’m overcome with exhaustion.