Motels and hotels I remember

Third in a series.

Hilton Portland in Portland, OR

Sometime in the late ’80s…

How did I get here? I was sitting in a windowsill at night, with a cute curly-haired blonde girl I had just met a couple of days before, on the top floor of the Hilton. We could see up and down Broadway, the signs and traffics making a light show just for us. It was a romantic spot. We had had to evade security, and in fact could probably be tossed out if they discovered us. A little privacy, a little shared secret, an awesome view… a boy and a girl alone…

Her name was Christine, and she worked at Wunderland, a nickel arcade out in East county. I’d been there with my friends a few nights ago, and had flirted with Christine, and when we left, I had gone back inside to get her name and phone number. But the guy at the counter wouldn’t let me back in, and wouldn’t tell me her name, and so I’d left my number with him, figuring it was a lost cause.

Two nights later, she’d called me back. She’d been impressed that I had had the balls to try that, and wanted to talk to me. We talked, the next night I’d convinced my friends to go back to Wunderland, and while my friends dumped money into the machines I hung out with Christine. We stayed until closing time, and when we left, Christine came with us. She and I rode in the backseat of Andy’s Trans Am, “The Flaming Chicken”, and Matt and Andy in the front, back to Andy’s house where my beater truck was parked.

Then, I and Christine drove around, and I remembered a secluded spot where we could… talk.

But Christine had a secret and a load of guilt. Once we were alone, she would not look at me, which even I, with my not-so-finely-honed social skills knew was a bad sign. I asked and asked and finally she told me:

“I have a boyfriend. We live together. He’s probably wondering where I am right now.”

Um, OK. Interesting. I guess she was just being spontaneous when she’d agreed to get in the car with three strange boys and not go home.

She told me more: how boring her boyfriend was, how he was only into comic books and didn’t like to go out, how I’d seemed so fun and flirty and (I’m not kidding) how I had actual friends like Matt and Andy. And that was all it took to make me stand out from her stay-at-home comic-book-reading live-in-boyfriend and get her to come with us.

But that was the limit of her courage. She still wouldn’t look me in the eyes. She wouldn’t commit to seeing me again. She told me not to call her again, either at work or at home, because her co-workers knew her boyfriend and word would get back to him. I tried to talk her into meeting me again but even I could see that that wasn’t going to happen.

So… right, right… that was how I got there.

So I took her home, and never heard from her again. Never saw her working at Wunderland again, either. Another unfinished story.