From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Sunday, May 23rd, 1999 11:31 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE So sorry
When it all gets too much for me I book myself into the Hilton Hotel in town for a night. I’ve been doing this for the last year of so when the black dogs come calling.
I checked in last night.
I do this because I need to go to a place that is anonymous; a place where there is nothing of me to get in the way; a place where my smell is faint and the sheets are clean.
The first thing I do when I get to the hotel is run a bath. A really hot both. I take out my toiletry bag and remove soap, shampoo, shaving foam and razor.
Once the bath is filled, I don’t get in it. I let it ripple, close the bathroom door and climb into the king size bed.
Once in the bed, I ring room service. I order a club sandwich and a bottle of wine. Once it arrives I eat, drink and watch about half an inhouse movie. (Rushmore, if you’re interested)
All the while the bath is still filled and losing heat.
Once the movie is finished, I open my suitcase. Inside is a shine of cleaning products (not sure what the collective of cleaning products would be; shine will do for now)
I get my cleaning products out and then I clean the room. I know the room is clean, but I clean it again. I really clean it. I polish and buff. The windows become sparkling and each crevice and cornice is grooved with cotton buds removing any speck of filth.
Once the bedroom is cleaned I move into the bathroom. I clean there too. The toilet is scrubbed, the sink is scrubbed and the floor is mopped.
But I avoid the bath. It’s still filled with water; getting colder now. The steam is dissipating but there’s condensation on the white tiles.
I dip my hand in the water. I’m always surprised that it’s still warm. But I don’t get in it. I can’t get it. I want to so badly to get in it, but I don’t. I have one final task to do.
I leave the bathroom and return to the bedroom. I sit at the desk and take out some hotel stationary.
I grab a pen and start writing. It’s self addressed and the contents are a list of all the good things in my life.
The list always starts with Oftenbark and family and tends to make its way down to such things as my adequate way with words and my ability to make some strangers laugh. (In regard to making strangers laugh - I’m talking about this homeless guy outside Central Station who laughed at my unconscious impression of the arrivals announcement over the PA system. However he also laughed at his own middle toe that twitched involuntarily seconds after. But I’m still gonna claim this one for Dom’s house of chuckles.)
Then I take the letter and return to the bathroom.
It’s time to get in the bath.
I climb in, it’s colder now and my skin bubbles with goosebumps.
I clean myself first; I need to be clean. Then I read the letter out loud. And last night was no different, except for one key element:
You were on my happy list.
Oftenbark was there, my flat mate was there, my family were there and you were there. You were on my list of good things.
Thank you for that, even if it was just for one Saturday night, thank you. I’d so hate to lose you.
PS See I am a depressive after all; it wasn't just a costume.