There are good moments on the road. Things that stand out clearly against the rest of the day, when victory is fresh and the whole thing is moving well under you.

Today had the sort of morning where there was Viola, who was pretty, and her accent was very pretty, and her hair was almost red. At first the underground hotel bar was empty and I worked and drank water and too much coffee. Then I left to draw money and returned with an odd fifteen minutes to spare, which is not enough time to do anything at all but the hotel manager didn’t like seeing me sitting alone by the window cluttering the lobby with luggage and stubble and dangerously crowding the arrangements of orange flowers. He marched me back to the bar.

Viola said she came from Poland four years ago and preferred small towns and had a sister in Human Resources who wanted to be an actress. The sister had moved to the city and could not come back to small town life anymore.

She worried the same corruption might occur in her and she pursed her lips and would not let it happen. I looked at her and she was pale under her freckles, and her eyes were wide open. She spoke very quickly and she pursed her lips and would not let it happen.

I ordered coffee. Then I changed my mind and ordered champagne. Both arrived. Out of time, I drank the coffee in one swallow and the champagne too quickly; and I left Viola there and got into the car.

– Mayfair Hotel, June 2017

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