Chris began to question the wisdom of this trip. The voucher was only good for a couple
more weeks, so he didn't want it to go to waste, but he was still weak and achy, having just gotten
over the flu. So he pressed on, dry swallowing Motrin along the way, and made up his mind to
have a good time.
The bus pulled into the station at a quarter past two in the morning. The bus driver shook
his shoulder. "Sir, your stop," he said.
"Wha'?" Chris said, "Oh. Yeah. Thank you." He grabbed his bag and stepped into a cold,
misty morning. He pulled his collar up and pressed forward. He wasn't exactly sure that he
wanted to be here, but he reminded himself to man up and make the most of it.
Chris flagged down a taxi and jumped in. "The Hillside Inn on Route 304," he said to the
driver. Chris gazed out the window along the way, not really seeing anything as his thoughts
returned to Jennifer.
They had broken up three months ago, Jennifer claiming she needed space. Chris knew
what that meant. The word "space" in a relationship only meant one thing: "it's over."
"I just can't feel you anymore," Jennifer had said. "I used to be able to. There were times
when I could just look into your eyes and know exactly what you were feeling. But now..." Her
eyes filled with tears and she shook her head slowly.
"I can change," Chris said. "Whatever I'm doing wrong, I can fix it. Just give me another
But she just shook her head and walked away. From that day on, Chris went through the
motions of his everyday life, like he was on auto pilot. He went to work, he came home, but it was
as if he was watching someone else live his life through a dirty window. He was in a constant
"Hey buddy," the taxi driver said. "We're here." Chris gave him a twenty and got out. He
looked up at the Inn, still wondering if he should even be here, and buttoned up his coat. The
lobby of the Inn was bright and cheerful, and Chris felt for the first time in a long time that he
belonged somewhere. The clerk smiled as he approached the counter.
"Good morning, sir," she said, more wide awake than anyone should be at this time of
morning. "May I help you?"
"Hi," Chris said, "I should have a reservation under Chris Brockstedler."
"Yes, Mr. Brockstedler. We have you in room 212, with a beautiful view of the lake. Do
you need help with your bags?"
"No thank you," Chris said. "I just have the one."
He tossed his bag onto the bed and opened the curtains. The clerk was right; it certainly
was a beautiful view. Chris sat on the edge of the bed and stared out of the window, wondering
where this new adventure would take him.