“Welcome to the Coral Sands Resort. What name is your reservation under, please?”
“I see your suite mate has already checked in.”
“Suite mate? I don’t have a suite mate. There must be some mistake.”
“No, there is no mistake Miss Graham. It states right here on the online booking contract that in order to offer our unbeatable low rates a suite mate the management reserves the right to assign a suite mate.”
“A suite mate? Really? You’ve got to be kidding me. Does anybody really read all that fine print?” I shout at the clerk behind the reception desk.
“Please lower your voice, Miss. You did sign the acknowledgment page.”
How bad can it be? I won’t be in the room much anyway. I will be pool side or on the beach tanning. It is so cold back in Boston and snow is expected again. It is only for three days.
“Okay, which way is the suite?” I ask reluctantly.
“Take the first elevator to the 14th floor. Enjoy your stay.” The clerk answers smiling.
“You buy cheaply, you pay dearly.” I hear my Mom’s words of caution in my head as I step into the waiting elevator.
Mom cautioned me with those words or more that one occasion growing up. Like the time she allowed me to go to the Mall with friends to buy school shoes. I came home with a bargain pair rather than the name brand I was supposed to buy. I had enjoyed spending the savings at the arcade, snacking on Annie’s soft pretzels and buying jewelry at Claire’s. Then those bargain shoes wore holes in the toes within two weeks. Mom made me wear them as a reminder; refusing to give me more money for another pair.
Then there was the time I was anxiously saving to buy my first car. On an impulse I bought a car that was affordable at the moment rather than continue saving for a better car. That car turned out to be a lemon and I found myself walking to work for two more years.
Let’s not forget the home perm my friend Janet gave me. I desperately wanted curly hair and a home perm was half the cost. The ad on the box boasted salon style perm in the comfort of one’s own home. The results were a frizzy mop I tried to hide under a headscarf till it grew out.
I knock before slipping the key card into the slot. As I enter the suite, my nostrils are treated to an unwelcome yet familiar smell. An offensive smell reminding me of my older brother’s bedroom when we were teens.
On Saturday morning’s our mom would send me to retrieve his laundry hamper. That was a joke. Like his dirty clothes were actually in the hamper. I would race in and out holding my breath taking care not to trip and fall into his pit of filth.
Had I entered a time warp? Not only did the suite smell like my brother’s bedroom it resembled the ongoing disaster as well. Strewn over both beds and the floor are wet towels and piles of clothes.
“What have I gotten myself into?” I wonder out loud.
Grooming products are spread over every inch of the bathroom vanity. The shower faucet is dripping and there is a puddle of water on the tiles. The small waste basket is overflowing with empty fast food containers, candy wrappers and a half eaten can of sardines. A spilled strawberry milkshake was left to harden into a pink glob on the carpet.
“What kind of person could make this much mess so quickly? Checkin was just an hour ago. I wonder if the gift shop sells air fresheners?”
I rid one of the beds of its misplaced contents and hurriedly unpack; hoping to have time to get in a swim before dinner.
Sitting pool side sipping a sweet tropical drink, I mindfully observe the other resort guests; wanting to determine which one could be my sloven suite mate. My attention is soon drawn to a tanned athletic sort on the diving board creating a spectator. The not so graceful cannonball splashes cool water all over me.
I am awakened by the thump of a body falling into the bed beside me. The time on my cell is 2 am. Then the snoring begins. Snoring that sounds like a low flying plane circling round and round. I roll over putting both pillows over my head.
The cackling of a dozen chickens would have more melodious than the bellowing in the shower that roused me from my fitfull sleep. I pull the bedspread up over my head and sigh. I stay there until all that remains of my suite mate is the lingering scent of too much body spray. Not wanting to delay my day any longer; I warily head into the bathroom hoping there is still hot water and dry towels.
Armed with sun screen, a blanket and the latest Nicholas Sparks book; I stroll down to the inviting beach. The warm sun is relaxing and soon the book falls from my hands. Relaxing-That is until some clumsy fool kicks sand all over me trying to retrieve a runaway volleyball.
Are those voices coming from inside the suite? I am not sure what the protocol is here. I haven’t even meet my suite mate. I surely don’t want to meet in what could be an embarrassing situation.
I decide the best way to handle it is to sit in the lobby reading my book for awhile.
The suit is empty when I return the second time. To avoid another sleepless night of serenades: I put in my earbuds and fell asleep listening to the calming sound of gentle rain. But tonight it is not the snoring that disturbs my sleep but the foul-smelling flatulence of the other body sharing the room with me. Pinching my nostrils closed I roll over while pulling the spread tightly around me. “You buy cheaply, You pay dearly.” My mother’s words play over and over like a broken record in my head.
“Hello, Mom it’s me. Just wanted you to know I back.”
“How was your weekend, Dear? Aren’t you home a day early?” Mom inquires sweetly.
“Great mom, it was great. The sun, the sand.”
"Do I need to tell her she was right again?"