With a little sigh made rough from cigarette smoke and bitter crying, the woman leaned back in the time-wearied upholstered chair. She turned her reddened eyes towards the window.
The glass wasn't clean. Hotels of that kind didn’t spend money on simple things like water and a squeegee. The airplanes took off nearby and the filth from the straining engines coated the pane year after year. The occasional rain wet this greasy grime but did little to wash any of it away.
She stared at the pattern left on the glass. It was interesting to look at although not exactly attractive, and luckily the long crack in the glass didn't disrupt the pattern. Streaks like rivers and spots like craters, curves like ribbons and circles like balloons, lines like highways and dots like towns. Yes, a map. It looked like a map.
A map is truly what she needed, but there wasn’t such a thing printed to show the route she needed to take. The path for her was on no map of man’s devising; such a thing couldn’t be plotted on paper with ink.
Slowly she turned away from the window, shifting her attention to the television making noise before her. It always seemed so easy on TV, she thought to herself. There was the problem, the character was stupid to act the way she did, got what she deserved by getting into that situation, and by the end of the show, she got her way out of it again. Why ever believe it could be hard to get out of the situation at all? Television made no sense.
She had left him, just as she promised herself she would if he ever did that again, even having a packed bag to grab on her way out the door. But where had it left her? What could she do now? Her very life was back at that house, and there was no way to move forward without having first go backward. However, going backward could mean no life at all.
In irritation she threw the TV remote across the room where it bounced off the lavatory sink. The plastic shattered to pieces.
Great, she thought, looking back to the window. Now the only entertainment from that seat was watching the grey sky and the yellow taxis speeding down Lexington Road as they headed for the airport.
Out in the cold, on a bare branch of the tree still deep in winter’s sleep, alighted a robin. The light wind shook the branch, and the little creature was puffed and ruffled against the frosty air as it rode the bobbing twig. The snows had melted from the ground weeks before, and a temporary thaw had fooled the brave bird into coming back.
Yes, little bird, the woman nodded. You’re right. It’s too early to return home.