“HOTEL TRIESTE, VIENNA” “SHOWROOM OF PERFECTION”

27 05 2011

HOTEL TRIESTE

I slip out of the hotel and hop across the street through the still heavily falling snow. I remember from the morning, before the snow started to fall and covered the city in quiet darkness, that there is a bakery. It is still open, thank you god.

Hotel Trieste is really expensive and even though I’m mad at Payne, I don’t want to waste his money on over priced hotel food. It’s not that I’m afraid about being found out – he never checks hotel-or restaurant bills. Or any bills.

He always just pays without ever wondering how a rat-exterminator could be as expensive as 1800$ to remove one dead rat. I recognize the greedy look in the carpenter’s face when he checks the house that Payne just bought and estimates how much the dark wood floorboards will cost. “Rich white stuck up asshole” say his eyes as he charges three times more than he usually does.

Payne tips 50$ bills to bellboys and maids and gets embarrassed at their surprised gratitude. I kind of love him for this generosity but at the same time, I feel contempt when I watch him buying this fake kind of love and admiration. It is so obvious, so totally transparent and especially here, in Europe, he draws more looks of hidden pity than respect. People laugh behind his back about the rich and clueless American. I hurt for him whenever I catch this.

I don’t want to waste his money on my binge. I already feel guilty about that airplane ticket and the expensive hotel and his always-bad mood, which is even worse here than in LA.

I buy a few bags of Viennese pastries, as many as I can stuff into my bag and run back across the street.

Inside the hotel, the afternoon hipster crowd has started to gather. A tiny yearning stirs my chest – I want to sit amongst friends and strangers at the overcool bar and have conversations and connections. I’ve been quite lonely because Payne does not like people in general and especially not with me around. A few people look at me as I walk by in my elegant coat and high heels but at this point in my life, I’m shy and insecure – all my self-esteem, if one could call my fucked up view of myself, my self-loathing and fear of Payne’s rejection as any kind of esteem, is so low, that I can’t look at anybody. So I turn my eyes away and find a booth that is secluded and removed enough from the rest of the diners to have the privacy I need right now.

I order a can of tea, open a magazine and start to reach into my bag of goodies. The first sweet bite makes everything around me silent and I’m suddenly alone. With sugary flower and buttery delight in my mouth, I feel whole and complete. The world around me disappears. This is my private and secret heaven and I take my time to sneak pastry bites from my purse. I wash it all down with tea and hope that my stomach can hold up long enough to stay on my nasty island of perfection.

The fashion magazine is fascinating and I’m drugged out enough to get lost inside it. It doesn’t bother me to read about successful, skinny and happy people who are so much more interesting than me. For half an hour, I look at those pages and fantasize that one day I will be one of those people.

But of course, way too soon, I’m too full to continue. I sneak into the bathroom, bend over and allow those pastries to splash into the toilet. It’s no big deal, it’s so easy and painless – it’s like taking a piss.

I return to my table and continue to eat and read while the music and the conversations around me get louder. A cute looking guy in an expensive suit stops by my table.

“You look so lonely. Why is a pretty lady like you alone on a Saturday night?” he asks in German “My friends and me have watched you walk across the room and we made a bet who this mysterious creature might be. Come join us”

I’m on my fourth or fifth pastry and swallow quickly. I can feel my face blush.

“Excuse me? I do not speak German.” I lie

“Oh, no problem, I’d love to practice my English” he beams in almost perfect English.

“I’m waiting for my husband. He should be here any moment”

“Your husband is welcome with us. Come on over, he’ll find you!” he laughs and touches my arm ever so slightly.

“Ahm. He wants to spend this evening with me alone, it’s our wedding anniversary” I smile. “He just has to finish some work upstairs. But I’ll ask him when he comes down. I’ll see you in a few minutes”

“Great!” he says, “We are over there, that big table by the bar” he winks to his friends. “I can’t wait for you both to join us”

“Sure, I’ll see you soon.” I force myself to be friendly and polite but as soon as he turns around, my hand is back inside my purse and breaks off another piece of cake.

I order another can of tea and keep pushing pieces of Viennese pastry inside my poor little body.

Much too soon, I have to leave my island again, bent over and sick to visit the bathroom. I know I look like a pregnant skinny girl, pushing my bloated stomach ahead of me, but when I return from the toilet, I’m slim and upright again.

To my horror, I recognize an older, very poised and elegant women with short-cropped white hair – a friend of my mother  – when I am about to sit down to finish my binge.

She cries out when she recognizes me. “Monah, oh my god, is this really you?” She is surrounded by the group of people I’m supposed to join once my “husband” is done with his work. I have no choice but to abandon my food-bag and hug her. She holds me away from her and looks me up and down.

“Monah, I had no idea you are in Vienna. Why didn’t you call me?” She hugs and kisses me. “You look so incredibly beautiful, how do you do it? How do you manage to stay so slim and perfect? My god, you are more beautiful than ever. Age really suits you!” She turns to her crowd and introduces me as her best friend’s daughter. “Isn’t she just gorgeous? I mean, you are just amazing. The last time I saw you, how long ago was it, 10, 15 years ago, you were cute, but now you’re an absolute beauty queen. What’s your secret?”

“Thank you, Katja!” I laugh “I don’t see what you are seeing, but maybe its because I’m married to this totally god of a man. You know what that does to a girl, don’t you?”

“So, where is he? I want to meet him!”

“Oh, he’s working on a deadline for Playboy. And he’s not very social. Unfortunately. But he’s wonderful.”

“It shows. It really shows. Love is the best beauty secret, isn’t it?”

“It is. I’m so happy. I’m so in love with him.”

She hugs me again. There is no way I can go back to my secret stash of sugary happiness now. But there is no way to get Payne to come down here either.

“Let me go get him. If he’s done with his story, I’ll bring him down here. It’s so good to see you”

That last line is the only line that’s not a lie. I am happy to see Katja. I really am. For a moment, I make myself believe that I can talk Payne to come down stairs and act like the happy and charming man he is able to be when he wants to be.

“I’ll be right back, Katja” I say and sign the check for our room: Two cans of tea. I’ve been a good girl, not wasting his money.

I grab my bag and on the way upstairs to our room, I dispose the rest of my binge-loot in a trashcan next to the elevator.

I turn the key and hug Payne from behind. He is bent over his computer and he closes it as soon as I approach. But I see a slice of porn before its snaps shut.

“What are you watching?” I ask, “Let me see”

“No. Its nothing you’d care about. Just a little distraction from my boring work. You wouldn’t like it anyway. I’m tired. Come lay down with me” he gets up and sinks into the luxury down comforters. “Come here, baby, I’ve missed you” he purrs in his sexy and seductive Leonard Cohen voice.

“I’ve met an old friend I used to be really close to and she can’t wait to meet you,” I say.

“I’m not in the mood to go downstairs. All I want is you, baby. I’ve missed you so much. I’ve been waiting for you, baby. I need you. I need you so much”

He pulls back the comforter and shows me his errection.

“See how much I want you?” he purrs. “Come here and serve your master”

I lay down next to him and he pulls my jeans off. He kisses me all over and I snuggle up to his warm and slightly bitter smelling body. I’m addicted to this smell. More than to the pastries. Way more.

“I was looking for a dominatrix to give you what you need, baby. I think I found one. Katrina. We’ll see her tomorrow. I want to give you everything you need and I know – shush baby, I know you better than you do – I know what you need and I will give her to you as a present.”

I don’t have the courage to tell him that I have absolutely no interest in Katrina or anybody else. I’ve lied for so many years to please him, pretending that this is my deepest secret wish, to be dominated and abused by a women he chooses for me, so he can watch me get hurt and reduced to the submissive, pain-addicted freak I pretend to be. I’m a liar, a people pleasing wreck of a woman who will do anything to keep him in my life.

And to be totally honest, I wonder if this is what I secretly wish and need. I mean, Payne knows me inside and out and he might be right. I don’t know who I am. I don’t know what I want. Except Payne – I want him more than I want to live my own life. I don’t have a life anyway. All I have is this desperate love and need for him and to keep him with me. To make him love me. As long as he does, I can live. I know I’ll die if I lose him.

I don’t go downstairs again. I stay in this beautiful bed with him and forget – again – that there is a life that is waiting for me. Downstairs, so close, but so far away. So far, far, far away.


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