Blinking… Blinking… Blinking…
I nearly slipped on my way out of the shower, but laid the blame more on my own lack of attention than on any fault of the hotel. With a towel slung around my non-existent waist, I walked over to the bed and sat down on the edge. As I reached for my cigarettes on the nightstand, I glanced down at my hands. I had managed to peel away a good deal of the glue from my hands, but a fair amount of it remained in the cracks and crevices. I noted that my nails seemed to possess two cuticles, the natural set and an artificial set made from glue.
I glanced around the room to see if there were any of those evil “NO SMOKING” signs here, to see if I was committing some mortal sin of etiquette as I popped another cigarette into my mouth and lit up. I walked over to the window and pulled the shades open to reveal the night skyline of Terre Haute, Indiana. I could see the old- fashioned dome of City Hall from this vantage point. Beyond City Hall I could see what I had been told were the rising towers of the dormitories of the university—an island within the city, where 95% of the population was between the ages of 18 and 22, and where the outer city’s inhabitants were referred to as Hauteans.
To the East I could see what appeared to be either television or radio towers. It was interesting, I thought, that I could see all the way across the city to where the towers broke through the night sky. I had spent most of my life in big cities and it always surprised me whenever I found myself in a small city, a city which I could look out across its entirety. And looking out across the entirety of Terre Haute filled me with a strange sensation that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
As I gazed out across the cool, dull hue of the city, my thoughts began to drift, thinking about my life. About the sad, miserable sequence of events that made up my life. Made up my adult life, I should say. As a child I had shown a good deal of promise. But somewhere between point “A” back there in, say, the 6th grade and
point “B” in the here and now, somebody had thrown a whole lot of broken glass in the road. And now here I was. And here my thoughts finally came to rest on the details of the job at hand. And the thought of the job at hand now made my stomach churn, and an acidic/mint taste form at the back of my tongue—like sticking my tongue on a battery’s terminals. God, how had my life come to this point at which my publisher’s rotten deal had sounded like a step up?
I let my eyes wander to the blinking lights of the TV/radio towers. And I let the thoughts drain from my head as I watched the tower lights blink on and off, on and off, on and off, in a slow, hypnotic fashion.
It was hypnotic. Perhaps Samantha had been right. Perhaps
there was something about this city by the Wabash River. “Magical,” I mumbled to no one in particular.