Home: Figments: Illusions in Lavender

Illusions in Lavender

I'm in a city, somewhere on the coast, I think... I can taste salt and ozone in the air. Skyscrapers stretch into the sky all around me, outlined by a hazy, rusted glow of the sunset beyond. The street would be dim, if not for the neon signs scattered around in immodest attempts to entice the stomach or the libido. A strange alpine glow is also reflected onto the street, for the sun still shines on the high tops of the buildings and the dense clouds of pollution above. The city seems to be in a sort of transition, between the bustle of commerce of the day, and the hustle of temptations and diversions of the night.

I can't help but feel like I'm supposed to be someplace else and so I press against the revolving doors and enter the nearest tower. I've been here many times before, it seems, and so I hardly notice the gift shop selling key chains and packs of cigarettes and little statues and shot glasses. I make my way to the elevator, where several others are waiting. They are carrying suitcases, and we exchange a polite nod as the doors slide open and we all step inside. I think for a moment that it seems strange, such a large hotel as this, not sending the bellhops to carry luggage, but then I realize they only have one bag each. Perhaps they are simply businessmen on an overnight trip, too sensible or cheap to tip a bellhop for a single bag. Before I can speculate about their business, however, the doors slide open again. This is my floor.

The elevator lobby for this floor is empty, and as the doors slide shut behind me for the last time, I feel suddenly alone. I'm still not sure why I am here, or exactly where here is, but I seem to know the way. The hallways are long and wide, and I guess that the rooms beyond are quite large, as the doors are few and far between. I can almost imagine the posh luxury inside, where travelers like the men in the elevator kick off their shoes and check their reports, while reclining on light brown leather chairs. I turn what I assume to be the last corner, but instead of another hallway, there is a closed bridge, crossing to the next building. I glance through the glass across the way, and watch for a moment as the reflection of the sunset is covered by shadow. I'm running out of time.

I hurry across the bridge, and find myself in the other building, where the hallways are narrow, and the carpets are the color of rust, and rather than luxury, I sense age and decay. I arrive at my room, and start to fumble for my key, but I notice the door is ajar. I barely raise my hand before it swings open, and I can see the room beyond is a wreck. I have to step around the heavy tan blankets and quilted bedcovers that have been carelessly flung on the floor; there isn't much free space. As I pass the television, I swivel it around to see the screen filled with static. Someone left it on, probably one of my roommates, carelessly leaving a movie to end by itself before leaving for some unknown destination.

I can't stand these people, I think, as I find my corner of the room, the bed still neatly made from the housekeeping service earlier in the day. I can't recall how they convinced me to come on this trip in the first place, or even who they are. I lean over the dresser, looking into the mirror, I can hardly recognize myself. I realize I don't want to do my makeup and I don't want to join them for a night out on the town... I'd just like to crawl into bed and escape this strange place. So I do. As I curl up under the thick layers, I imagine a room, bright and clean and empty. That's it, I think, perhaps this is all an ugly, dirty dream and I'm sleeping in there...

De profundis... I return to the room.