- Vol. 04
- Chapter 03
Image by Manon Bellet
Redundant ThingsEvan carried all his belongings in a white carrier bag with him into the hotel lobby, and smiled at the young man behind the desk. He felt the glances of guests and staff. He didn't feel welcome.
"Can I help you sir?" the young man asked politely.
"I would like a room for the night please" Evan replied.
The young man's eyes flashed to his colleague before shifting to the computer. It was a brief glance, but still a dagger in Evan's heart. The contempt his ragged appearance incited in others eroded his self-worth, but he wouldn’t let it get to him today.
"That'll be forty nine, ninety" he said.
His eyes dared Evan to back away, but he resisted, producing the exact amount in coins and notes. Evan couldn't remember the last time his fear had consumed him so utterly. He was cold and his joints were stiff, but his heart was thudding hard and fast, and he was sweating all over.
The young man reluctantly accepted the currency. Evan had expected to be treated with the cool aversion that most homeless people were regarded with in civilised society. Unemployment was nothing to be ashamed of, especially for those who fought so hard to return from it. Still, Evan carried the shame nonetheless.
Once upstairs, Evan closed the door of his room and emptied the contents of the bag onto his bed. He placed his trousers into the trouser press, and then called reception for an iron and a board to iron his shirt. He washed his hair and brushed his teeth under a hot shower and started to feel like a human being again.
Redundant ThingsHe stepped out and slipped into a robe when the iron and board were delivered to his door. He switched on the news and brewed some coffee while he shaved, and then he ironed his shirt. When his trousers were ready, he got dressed in front of the mirror to watch the transformation.
Evan tied his tie methodically and combed his hair. He looked at himself in the mirror and felt like crying. It was like staring into the past. The memory of his last real job flooded back to him as it always did when he prepared for an interview. “This is it,” he muttered “This time I’m gonna prove that I have worth”.
Evan took a deep, staggered breath and felt the fear pumping through his veins. He glanced at the clock. The interview was soon. He looked at the plastic bag he had brought with him. It stared back at him. He picked it up and screwed it into a ball in the palm of his hand.
Downstairs, Evan hurried through the lobby and tried to ignore the glances of guests and staff. He didn’t feel welcome. He stepped out onto the street and opened his hand. The plastic bag sailed free. The wind swept it up carried it away. Evan didn’t look back; he wouldn’t need it any more.