HOMES FROM HOMES
He is half your age and one inch shorter than you. He stands behind you, smelling of shoe polish and washing detergent. He has dark eyes that burn through your lower back and into the pit of you.
The lift stops and the doors open. It’s your floor. You walk on to the grey carpet and don’t look back.
Inside your room you go through the usual motions. Lie suitcase on bed. Kick off shoes. Find hotel slippers and slide feet into them. Check mini bar for water and wine. Survey bathroom for stray hairs and signs of past guests. Push bath plug in and run hot water. Pour in bath oil, lots of bath oil. Check and adjust the water’s temperature. Walk into the bedroom and pull the curtains. Undress. Hang up suit. Deposit underwear and stockings in the laundry bag. Slip on complimentary dressing gown. Unpack tomorrow’s clothes. Open laptop and charge phone. Connect to the Internet. Scroll through emails and bookmark the urgent minority. Retrieve pink highlighter and notes for tomorrow’s meetings. Pour a glass of wine. Place ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the door’s outside handle, close and turn lock. Take wine and notes into the bathroom. Let dressing gown drop to the floor.
You have one foot in the water, when there is a knock at the door.
Robed again, you tut your way to the door’s peephole. It is the man from the lift, the one with burning black eyes.
“Room service,” he says. He has an accent and carries nothing in his hands.
You unlock the door and open it, covering the knot of your dressing gown with one hand.
“I didn’t order room service,” you say.
“I know, Madam.” There is an unfamiliar vowel leaping off the end of the sentence. You quite like it. “Would you like some room service?”
You take a second, looking at him through pinched eyes.
“You looked a little hungry in the lift, so I thought I would ask,” he continues.
You smile now. Whatever this is, it’s already added a spark to your stay in this hotel, your third in as many weeks.
“How does one look hungry, exactly?” You challenge him.
“You can just tell when a woman is hungry. There is something about her.”
With his rolling words and unfaltering stare, you are very attracted to the young man who has the nerve to show up on your doorstep.
“Well, I am not hungry. Thank you.”
“Okay.” His smile stays broad and confident. “You’re welcome.”
He turns and walks away.
Back in the hot bubbly water, you ignore the notes and you sip your wine slowly. You stick your big toe in the hollow of the tap and think about where the hotel porter’s accent may be from.
“This collection of stories is like a blanket woven from 100% wanderlust under which you can hide as Frances M. Thompson tucks you in with her words and keeps you warm with her descriptions of characters you’ll love and places you can tell she knows by heart.” Gesa Neitzel, www.bedouinwriter.com
Shy Feet: Short Stories Inspired by Travel is a collection of twelve quirky, charismatic and touching tales of travel.
The inquisitive Ruth tells the story of The Lost Children of Gatwick Airport and in Max’s Holiday we learn what a seven-year-old boy considers a “proper holiday” to be. In The Flowers Sleep Tonight, we meet Thomas and Carly, two solo travellers whose paths keep crossing… because that’s exactly what Thomas wants. A spontaneous plan to elope is revealed in The Runaways and Homes from Homes is about the lessons Patricia learns from the hotel bellboy she has a fling with. Oh, Henry is the story of how a dream holiday can mean two different things to two lovers and Katie’s Maps is an offbeat love letter to a vast collection of maps. Extracts from a travel journal tell one woman’s life story in All the Beaches are Made of Pebbles and find out what Australia and underpants have to do with Claudia wanting to leave her husband of forty years in The Road is Long.
From the unforgiving Australian Outback to the jagged beauty of the Amalfi Coast, along the pebbled beaches of Brighton & Hove and down the busy streets of late night Barcelona, this collection of short stories highlights how travel intersects and enriches all of our lives, often without us realising it…
“Shy Feet: Short Stories Inspired by Travel transports you to exotic locales without leaving your armchair and leaves you wanting more… Frances M. Thompson has a novel in her and I can’t wait to read it.” Nathalie Harris, www.acooknotmad.com
Genre – Short Stories, Contemporary Fiction
Rating – PG13
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