Sylvie, in her boat-neck sailor stripe blouse, pale polished suit, heels, pushed the sunglasses down from the top of her head when the elevator stopped at the fifth floor. A woman in a t-shirt and leggings got on, and the elevator went the rest of the way down.
It was quiet for the hour, just before 7:30 on a hectic morning. With traffic, Sylvie thought, she should have plenty of time to drive to her office out of the city. And she would be driving out of the traffic. And then, and then? Oh, just making it through today was the first step.
Sylvie walked past the lobby, not bothering to check out. She had left the key in the room, as she planned to avoid the same faces she had seen the day before. But now she recognized no one. Trays rolled past from the restaurant–the cling of glasses, the bustling kitchen voices , the scent of coffee elevating Sylvie’s mood, the hum of purpose she had chosen.
The morning was cool, damp in the garage as she started her car and eased out onto the empty streets. So strange, it seemed, as she turned toward the expressway, switching on the radio.
“It’s a beautiful Saturday morning.”
Sylvie pulled off to the side of the road, checking her calendar. Yes, yes, it really was the weekend already. Jean-Paul had said he was leaving Friday evening. And the city was still empty so early. In a flash, Sylvie turned the car back to the hotel, yes, she could keep her room tonight, and tomorrow. The city, and the morning, were hers. She picked up her suitcase, and headed upstairs to change.
Jeans, the boatneck, boots, the white raincoat pulled tight. Yes, this was it, she thought, as she happily rode back down and sat in the bar for coffee, the news. It felt so luxurious, the sun, coffee, a new lens, and time.