Jessica Eve Watkins
9th April, 2014
It’s our first night away from home. The documentary, now rendered official by the simple act of our leaving. Seven hours driving south to be here. Sore throats. “If it was anyone but you I would feel embarrassed at the amount I have sung today.” We’ve warbled ourselves dry.
It’s 10.30pm, at the Super 8 Motel. A strip-mall town in northern Virginia. The evening is warm like nothing I’ve felt for some months. In the carpark men are swigging beer bottles and leaning bored against pillars. We’re locked in the front seat, sitting for a minute behind the windshield. Neon lights, baseball caps, texting. The smell of holiday or beach or mellowness. The strangeness of this moment. There is a calm etched into our vulnerability. I wonder at a proudness I feel to be doing something, anything. There is sureness in my speech.
Harper scuttles to reception and procures a room while I stay in the car, re-locking all doors. When she returns she points at a man who called her sexy as he rubbed himself against the wall. I see him twitching like a ball of adrenaline.
We are directed to room 215, and then room 101, after the first turns out to be unmade and dirty-sheeted, the still air heavy with the tobacco odour of an absent guest. We dump bags on the scratchy bedcover, empty our toiletries out over surfaces, and arrange a picnic supper on the table. Blue Moon lagers. It looks like we’ve been here forever.
“The sweet hum of the refrigerator,” my friend mumbles into her pillow. A last thought for the evening.
There is something so wonderful about the moment. Tonight I revel in the stillness of her on the bed next to me, passed out face down. The blankness of a transitory room. An unfamiliar lighting, an unwise curtain fabric. None of it has anything to do with me. It’s fresh and I know I don’t have to go anywhere until the sun has risen.