Heartbreak Motel

Juliet gripped the oblong plastic diamond, walked across the gravel and headed to number 13. Back to the room.

She dropped the groceries on the kitchenette table, pulled out a bag of chips and reclined on the bed.

She used to feel glamorous, especially when she was with Romeo, but the Montagues put an end to that. Now she wore her hair up, eschewed makeup and recently she noticed that her knees cracked. Did they do that before? She could not recall. She ate chips and watched TV. Actually, she didn’t so much watch TV as stare vacantly at it. The real show was taking place in her head.

She replayed the ugly scene at the Montague’s and pulled out another Kleenex to dry her eyes. The last Kleenex. She stood up, slipped into her flip flops, and knocked on 12. He was in, wearing grey pajamas and holding a bag of chips.

Neither wanted to be there. Both would have preferred being at the more expensive hotel at the end of the street. But there were no vacancies at Heartbreak Hotel.

“Hey,” said 12 between chips. “What’s up?”

“I’m outta Kleenex,” said Juliet. “Got any to spare?”

“Just a minute,” he said, turning to the closet. He turned back. “Well, that was rude. Would you like to come in?”

Juliet didn’t really want to but decided to be gracious. “I’d love to,” she said but actually meant “I’d be willing to.” She stepped inside.

The closet was filled with boxes of tissues. He pulled down a box from the top and handed it to her. But he pulled out a single tissue first.

“What’s your name?” He asked.

“Juliet. Yours?”

“I don’t remember any more. Just call me 12. Come over here.” He wiped her eyes. They were still red but they were dry now.

She took the box. “Thanks.” She returned to her room.

Why did it have to be like this? Nobody even remembered what the family feud was about. She and Romeo were caught in the middle of something they thought was stupid.

She was back on the bed checking email. It was done. Romeo had married someone else. Juliet had never even heard of the bride. Was it love? An arranged marriage? Was Romeo over her?

Her life was empty, her hope gone. But she had to continue. She was young and she had time for…something. Whatever will happen. Whatever she would make happen.

Maybe something would happen with 12. He wasn’t Romeo, but he was charming, handsome and a gentleman.

She opened a tub of Haagen Daz, and it was good. Dumb name though. Juliet imagined an ice cream by any other name would taste as sweet.

Juliet pulled back the curtains, and looked past the neon motel sign, looking for something beyond.