September 2018 Issue #1 (Theme – New Beginnings)
Hotel for Single Ladies by Toni Kief


Things were supposed to be different; I was to marry a sweet boy who would grow to be a good man.  I had no idea a pleasant walk in the park and ice cream soda- blind date could change my entire existence.  I took the blame for a long time. I was young and really thought I had broken his heart. I was confused by his expressions of love, as he explained that was what life was about and I would learn.  I didn’t want to be mean, but it just didn’t seem right.  Over time it got creepy, his being everywhere.  I knew something was wrong, so I changed my phone number, and moved, then moved again.  I often wondered what small decision, what tiny little thing I had done to lead him on. He would leave notes and flowers professing love, and then the gifts turned to small dead animals.  We were on a one-way path and I changed the map.

I could regret running over him but I was trapped.  It wasn’t planned, but backing up the second time was a mistake in judgment and the third time was just showing off. I screwed up my own defense that night.  This is the last time I will allow the thought that if I had done it sooner I would be getting out younger and still have the sight in my right eye. Funny, I spent more time paying for his life than running from him.  I must stop rehashing the past it can’t be changed.

As I check out of the Hotel for Single Ladies after a ten-year stint, I have no home, no children thank god and no love left in me. I inventory what I do have; a room at the halfway house, the recognition of the value of time and the strength to endure anything.  I will never recover the years I spent on someone I didn’t really know.  He robbed me of my dreams and I took away his ability to breathe.

To rebuild from now I have to leave the supposed to bes at this gate.  I have freedom and the knowledge that the dreams of youth are just fantasies.  I have today, and with luck tomorrow and I can’t worry about what comes after that.  I don’t know why I thought the husband, house and family was the ideal, when life always has its own plan.  Spending years with the sisters at the hotel, I learned everyone has a story that could break your heart and mine wasn’t the worst.

Where to now? I’ll catch the van to the halfway house and then tomorrow the Department of Motor Vehicles.  I’m going to need more than a prison ID if this new life is going to take off.  My expectations are wide open, and I think I am better for it.  I kiss the bitter memories goodbye at the gate and start my life with the first step.