“Given. Frank Given. Suite 412. Please check again” I implored the unfamiliar desk clerk at the Pierre Hotel.
“I’m sorry, ma’am, there’s no one registered here by that name.” The young man behind the desk looked at me with a mixture of embarrassment and pity.
“You must be mistaken” I replied quietly.
“There’s no mistake, ma’am. There isn’t even a reservation for a Frank Given. Perhaps you have the wrong hotel” the clerk suggested, trying to give me a way out.
Well, of course I didn’t have the wrong hotel! Frank and I had been meeting at the Pierre the second weekend of every month for three years. I noticed two female clerks huddled in the corner looking in my direction and chattering conspiratorially. My face turned red knowing they were talking about me.
I checked my phone for any texts or missed calls from Frank; there were none. Rather than stay in the lobby looking distraught and abandoned, I walked into the lounge and ordered a martini.
I sipped my drink and absentmindedly fingered the outline of the crest of the Pierre Hotel on the cocktail napkin. From where I sat I had a clear view of the front desk on the left and the entrance on East 61st Street on the right. I’d be able to see Frank the moment he arrived.
After thirty minutes and two martinis I began feeling paranoid. It was painfully obvious, at least to me, that everyone who saw me sitting by the bar thought I was either an elegant call girl just past her prime or a now lonesome and tedious woman who had been stood up.
Now in a state of semi-panic, I took my phone out again and texted Frank. I stared at the screen waiting for an answer which would offer a perfectly understandable and forgivable explanation.
Feigning nonchalance, I called Frank’s cell; it went straight to voicemail. Laughing flirtatiously, I left a message proving to no one in particular that all was right in my crumbling world.
My mind drifted back to that night when Frank and I first met. We shared a taxi and instead of continuing to my apartment, I accepted Frank’s invitation for a late dinner at the Pierre. One thing led to another as it often does and we spent the night together. A fling turned into a romance.
I became aware of someone approaching. Expecting to see Frank, I looked up, smiling; it was the concierge. Whispering discreetly, he handed me a note. It read: “Dearest Christine. I have treasured our little trysts but now we must go our separate ways. Farewell. Frank”
“Our little trysts!” I was shattered.
Just like that, as suddenly as it began it was over. Looking straight ahead, I gracefully walked out of the hotel. After buying a bag of roasted nuts from a vendor on the corner, I walked over to Central Park. I sat on a bench feeding the pigeons, thinking of everything and nothing.
NAR © 2021