It’s lovely here this time of year. Or perhaps it is always lovely, I wouldn’t know as this is the only time I’ve been here, but it’s quite cozy now. Maastricht reminds me of a place I have daydreamed about. A place where the wind blows only in effortless gusts to gently toss my ash brown hair lazily across my forehead, temporarily disturbing me from the latest book I am so enthralled with. Though I am here at a time in my life when things aren’t all daisies and butterflies, my interest is piqued by the amiable aura tucked quietly into every brick of each building. Of course it may sound insensible for me to think the sun shines here merely to brighten my laden heart, but the peace I feel gives me reason to entertain the idea.
The inviting August skies are warm against my knees as I sit on the window ledge in my second story hotel room, avidly watching the scene unfolding before me. A gray cobblestone street gives me cause to miss the days when people drove around in their esteemed Model T cars, even though I can’t actually conceive of such a time. Carefully planted trees with black wrought iron fences and mossy green leaves adorn every corner. A bakery sits just across from me with its decadent chocolate mousse eyeing me down from the storefront window, beckoning me to come indulge in the luxury it holds within.
The smell of clove and tobacco drifting slyly in the room snaps my attention back to reality, reminding me I am not the only one here. I gesture excitedly for him to come behold the charming street with which I am so engrossed. Sadly though he cannot be bothered; my excitement seems to be a solitary joy.
Now returning my gaze through the white trimmed window, I see a little pizzeria to my left, constantly proclaiming their pizza resembles that which made New York’s famous. I know this by the sign painted on a large wooden box resting on the back of their tomato red delivery bicycle declaring “New York style pizza. Damn Tasty!” It brings a smile to my face. Down towards the end of the generous sidewalk is a picture perfect café. Red and white checker table cloths cloak the tiny wooden tables, which are just big enough for two enraptured guests. Atop the tables lounge some salt, pepper, a seductive bottle of extra virgin olive oil, and a single wax candle, dripping poetically onto its brass saucer. Dainty bells and miniature horns from vintage banana seat bicycles whirl through the air and tangle with the patter of feet from passers by, on their way to buy books, or bread, or maybe a hat.
A light breeze disrupts my stint of daydreaming. As the airy cream curtains sway gently back to the window speckled wall he bids me farewell for the day. He thinks I forget we only come to these destinations because of his work; but all too true it’s because of his work, or rather his obsession with it, that everything is tainted. It’s funny how we latch onto things, thinking if we never let go of what we thought we had we will someday have it. Lately his eyes have grown cold like an unforgiving winter rain, and arms that once tightly embraced me have all but fallen slack to his sides. Yet we remain, quietly playing each other this sweet charade, hopelessly praying the other draws the end finally to a close.
I turn to see him saunter across the smooth grain of the coffee stained wood floors, nonchalantly letting the door fall shut behind him. The room is somewhat on the small side, but compared to the first two hotels that weren’t good enough for him this room is splendid! There are no fancy sitting rooms or kitchenettes full of metal pots and pans we wouldn’t use anyway. There is one lonely walnut stained sofa table, though no sofa to accompany it, waiting to greet us whenever we enter. The bed, which consists of two twin mattresses thrust together, is crisply assembled with ivory linens, a plush tan blanket, and an espresso headboard that almost went unnoticed for all the pillows shoved in his face. Modern, boxy light fixtures, closely resembling a charcoal gray stretch of cardboard, are littered amongst the walls. Situated promptly outside the bathroom door is a studious walnut finished armoire, who graciously obliges all the lazy clutter and untidiness.
The bathroom is unabashedly the most prominent aspect of this room. An oval stainless steel sink, offering little room for things normally placed there, resides just inside the sliding door below a silver trimmed mirror. A shiny silver rod attached to the wall patiently awaits with lavish towels. The walls remind me of a chocolate checker board only all the squares are deep brown. The shower has but one small silver dish just a smidge larger than the size of a bar of soap, a snakelike chrome sprayer, and no door. There are only three walls to the shower. Two walls consist of the cocoa buttered brownness I previously spoke of and the third, which separates the shower from the rest of the world, is a floor to ceiling sheet of diaphanously blue glass. Objectively, I would assume, such a shower is to have a floor ever so slanted so that all of the water drains prior to it overflowing into the rest of the bathroom. This, however, is not the case as I cannot manage to not flood the entire bathroom every time I take a shower.
Aside from my trials with the unruly shower, I am quite fond of this room. I admire it for its simplistic design and sparse decoration, and for the refreshing view I awake to daily as the sun pours in over the tops of the tightly nuzzled brick buildings that span all the way down the cobblestone street until they come to rest quietly by the river. Though he’ll be back soon, and along with him the pungent presence of a relationship long expired, I find sanctuary here and now as the fragrant morning breeze rustles off the water and on into my windows. The velvet warmth of my coffee, sweetly gratifying my tongue, wraps me in a childlike comfort. There’s a tranquility about this place, something that calls to me, telling me to relax and enjoy what I may. I feel as though I could stay here forever, sitting on the cool ledge of my hotel window, looking out on this quaint street nestled in the midst of Maastricht. Though this trip will soon come to an end, and with it this chapter of my life, it’s uplifting to know this place exists, this small piece of a daydream that will ever be a safe harbor from the tribulations of life.Copyright 2009 Amber Herrington. All rights reserved.