A siren sounds dimly in the distance. A corner of condensation obscures the lower part of the window. A city still sleeps, frozen in time. I was scheduled to depart today, but the ice storm cancelled my flight. Now I stand looking out over the city of Dallas. An extra day is a luxury, often better shared with another, but I must make do with myself. The hotel has reserved my room for me for an extra night. I have nothing but hours to explore. I’m glad I hadn’t taken the time to peruse the many hallways of the place – it will give me something to do in the afternoon. Transportation is still sketchy, so I make no moves to go outside. It’s only in the twenties anyway. The lobby alone is too chilly unless one is lucky enough to get a spot by the fire. For now, I remain alone, in a high room, as the day begins its slow slide into night.
An arsenal of blank letters sits on the desk. A book lies on the bedside table. A description of the acclaimed steakhouse in the hotel sits on a cardboard stand. Together, they comprise the plan for the day, and an early evening. If I’m to brave the perilous ice-ridden trek to the airport the next day, and a possibly chaotic scene upon arrival, I’ll need an early night. But again, this is all in the future. I want to stop for a moment, to slow down and commemorate this extra day. I am so often alone, by choice, but this time it feels different. It feels, and I don’t often feel this, lonely.
I pace in front of the window, like some caged creature still hoping for a way out. I twist one hand in the other, taking deep breaths, walking and walking and going nowhere. Hurriedly, I gather my book, a pad of paper, some letters, and a pen, then quickly exit that suddenly-suffocating room. I need to be where other people have been. My time in Dallas has come to a close.