Heartbreak Hotel

30 March, 2016

 

He left me in Heartbreak Hotel.  It was on a Thursday around 8.25am, there were words.  His were insolent, mine shouted, he threw something and left.  A thumbs-up, mocking me as he walked down the road.

After what felt like eternity (about 4 days), things did begin to change, as I reflected on the past, the good times and all that I missed about him.

I noticed a lightness in the air, I think it’s actually called “fresh air”.  It eased away the memorable odour of my teenage son, happily riding his bike-machine, hard, two hours of sweaty training in my house each afternoon.  Oh, happy days.  I fondly remember how we shared my kitchen, him speaking loudly, almost shouting above the noise-cancelling headphones he’d taken from my bag.  “Get me a drink bottle”, he used to say, as I tidied up, cooked dinner and got ready to go back to work.

“Not that one, I want the blue one” he’d shout urgently across the room.

“This one is blue”, I’d foolishly reply.

“The other blue one”, he’d say, understandably irritated with the delay.  He’d often do another 60km on his machiney-thing, before I’d found the right bottle, in his used sports bag, in the back my car, under his bike; then 15km while I washed the rancid liquid out and freshly filled it for him.

 

I remembered our happy evenings going to the Redbridge race track on a Tuesday night.  The anxious hour I’d spend waiting at the school gates, terrified he’d been abducted by a pedophile, when he didn’t appear with the other children.  As usual, his phone would have been unfairly confiscated during a lesson, rendering him unable to call, or text, to say he’d be out after detention.

And even though we set off a bit late each week, we’d chat for hours and hours in the car, as we queued round the M25 at rush hour.  His inspirational mind would find new routes to try and get us there on time.

“Turn right. Now.”  He’d say unexpectedly.

“Where?”  I’d reply

“Back there?”  Him, incredulous that I’d screwed-up again.  He was right, he could have probably driven so much better than me; 13, so young and so gifted.

 

I still find it difficult to walk past bike shops, without spending excessive amounts of money.   I remember the anxiety he’d be in when he found an expensive gadget he desperately needed.  He would worry (me) day and night for it and sometimes secretly buy it with my bank card.   The bike shop staff were always so friendly,  I’d often pop in early on a Saturday morning, before a race, to replace a part he’d lost.

“Replacement heart rate strap?  That’ll be £56”.  They said in January

“Replacement heart rate strap?  That’ll be £56”.  They said in February

“Replacement heart rate strap?  That’ll be £56”.  They said in March

“Replacement heart rate strap?  That’ll be £56”.   They won’t say in April.  I hope the shop stays open without me.

 

Another interesting thing I’ve noticed since he went is the TV changes channels.  I had no idea our TV did this; I just assumed it was stuck on one channel, broken, waiting to be replaced.  The kids tell me that there are hundreds of other things you can watch on a TV, apart from reruns of the Tour de France.  (Who knew?).  You’ll need a remote control device to change it over, you find it moulded to your teenage son’s hand.

I’ve been wandering through Heartbreak Hotel and I discovered it’s actually ok.  A three star, seaside type B&B (without the sea), happily providing an Easter holiday experience for my two remaining guests.  They check in and out with me, telling me they’re here or when they’re leaving; they recommend it to their friends and persuade me to fit a few more in, even though the rooms are all full.  My guests show up at the agreed times for meals and pick from a limited choice, of bored daily offerings, what they’ll have each mealtime.  (They say please and thank you when they do this).  If they need something, they come to reception and ask for it, there’s no facility to charge it to an unknown account.  We limited room service (for guests 6 months old or younger) and full laundry facilities are provided solely for the guests’ use (management takes no responsibility…..).

And if you don’t like it, or the facilities it offers aren’t good enough, you can just check out, with your bag, without a good-bye.  Like you did.

elvis on bike

I spent a lot of money on special cycling clothes.

 

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2 Responses to “Heartbreak Hotel”


  1. Blimey. That had me gripped.

    Has he gone? Really gone? Like, permanent?


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