When one puts out the light at night and the room is wrapped in darkness, every hotel room, in its bare essence, is the same everywhere. The absence of light makes the luxury one has paid for invisible. There could be beautifully painted frescos on the ceiling or only cracked paint and crushed mosquitos.
I think it are mainly the sounds one hears lying in the dark, waiting for sleep to come, that emphasizes this impression.
A late guest, slightly intoxicated maybe, stumbling through the corridor, fading steps and then a door slammed closed and silence creeps in again.
The almost imperceptible sounds of the elevator, the regular ticks of the crimping metal elements of a radiator; so many sounds that go without definition only existing in a faraway back office of our imagination.
A squeaking bed above or under ones room and some moaning to go with.
The obvious traffic noises too. Distant and decreasing each hour until two or three in the morning, then swelling again when the first commuters leave for work and vans deliver fresh printed newspapers.
One could easily think of a hotel as a living organism.
There is one element though that is different in each and every hotel room though and the most important object too.
I am referring to the mattress.
Each night in a given room is different as the mattress is used to carry a tired body through the night, or is fucked on, or gets a load of vomit or pee when the guest is sick to the stomach. Maybe one night this specific mattress offers comfort to a guest whose body is already dying without its owner knowing it.
Make up fucks, farewell fucks, conception fucks, hate fucks.
Farting, sweating or spilled body juices after masturbation incited by loneliness or passion of just the painful missing of a loved one.
Sudden death or an accidental murder maybe, a choking game gone sour.
A cold body found in the early morning by a cleaning lady. The mattress is turned over and what happened is forgotten.
But the mattress knows, it is imprinted by the story those who have used it.
The mattress is a patient chronicler memorizing stories. They will never be heard or read. All these stories are written down in the fabric the bed is made of.
That morning in Bruges we had made passionate love, Princess and I. The light falling through the windows illuminated her delicious body and the room filled with the sent of pure and raw sex.
Quickly I made two photographs, trying to catch the sheer beauty of the moment but I only partially succeeded as Princess’ beauty can in no way be immortalized.
She smiled, Princess, and in her eyes I read unconditional love.
A new day lay ahead of us but we did not know its history yet. Breakfast was waiting, that we knew.
Later that day, in the spur of the moment, we would enter a jewelry shop and buy engagements rings and declare our vows.
But for the moment Princess was lying naked on a mattress in a hotel room in Bruges and beaming at me.
I smiled back and felt thankful and ever so happy for her love.
That morning a small part of our history was written down.
It will exist forever, engraved in the mattress of our temporary bed.