Smell of burnt popcorn. Sky the color of pencil lead. Flakes fell, plump and silent. Down the hill past the hospital, across the frozen Dodder. Car tires slushed through the collected snow at the pit of the pendulum by the small kiosk that sells ice cream in the springtime. Sight blocked, her hand on mine, first gear to climb to the top. On the right, the hotel, lights blurred in the falling snow, the sign heavy with frosting. No further, no point, home too far away. We parked in the lot, signed the register, not a married couple: she, barely out of teenage life; me, heading to the first speed limit of my life. The heavy carpeted stairs, plush, red hues, some dark blue in there, too.
From outside the strange light turned the room aglow. In a bed with an inordinately large mattress we undressed and slipped between washed sheets, crisp, white, dry. Her small cold feet touched mine and I withdrew from the contact. In the glow of the streetlight, the digital alarm clock red-numbered the minutes to morning, we closed distance, two springs intertwined. Spread on the crisp pillowcase, flamed hair fanned out, trace of Anaïs Anaïs. A haloed sinner in the Orwell Lodge Hotel, room number 8.