The Sandhopper Lover and other stories
Room With A Partial View - The Sandhopper Lover and other Stories (Cinnamon Press)
I was still determined to go, even without you. The flight from Stansted blurred into every other flight I had taken from there; the coach transfer from Pisa was held up by road works. By the time I arrived in the centre of Florence and bumped my wheeled case from the bus station to the hotel I’d seen enough of rolling Tuscan hills.
‘You are alone?’ asked the clerk at Reception.
‘But you have double room?’
‘Yes. Paid for. Is there a problem?’ I glared.
‘No, no.’ He clattered at the keyboard, squinting at the screen. ‘You have Room 301.’ He gave me a swipe card.
‘It’s a double room?’
He was almost telling the truth. The bed was a double, and there was just enough space to squeeze around it and open the wardrobe door three-quarters of the way. I checked the hotel layout map taped to the back of the door. A red sticker indicated you are here. The here was a narrow slot squashed between rooms more than twice its size.
I edged past the television and opened the window. It’s the first thing I do on holiday. Facing me was a brick wall. I stood on tiptoe and caught a glimpse of a domed building showing its pate over the top of the wall. I flipped through my guidebook: the Medici Chapel.
It was unfair. I’ve had worse (don’t get me started on New York), but if any room in this hotel was going to look out at bricks and mortar, it was going to be mine. I leaned out of the window. The room next door had a great view: the wall didn’t stretch that far. It had a balcony, too. That’s when I saw her foot.