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by Elynne Chaplik-Aleskow
It was our annual theater trip to New York, my favorite city in the world. The taxi pulled up in front of our hotel located on 54th Street. We checked in at the front desk, got the keys to our one bedroom suite and headed to the elevator. It was midnight and we were exhausted from a day of airport traveling and delays.
We entered our room and I immediately started to unpack. About an hour later we were ready to go to sleep. My husband walked to his usual side of the king bed and I walked to mine. We climbed into bed and suddenly with a great force we both rolled to the middle of the bed crashing into one another. For a moment we could not speak and just looked at one another.
“What happened?” my husband finally blurted out. “I don’t know,” I answered. We tried to roll the other way toward the edges of the bed but neither of us could make it out. We kept rolling back to the middle and into one another. After several minutes of uncoordinated frustration we got out of the bed and stood looking at it.
“This bed is broken,” my husband finally concluded. “Look at the frame. It has totally come apart.”
I got on the phone and called the front desk. It was by now almost two in the morning. The night manager officiously informed me that the hotel was full and that we would have to wait for morning to change rooms. That news was not what we wanted to hear. I argued with him but got nowhere. “Would you like us to sit up all night?” I asked in my most sarcastic tone. He let me know that whether we used the broken bed or not was certainly our choice. We were livid.
I let my tired husband have the middle of the broken bed to himself and I took one of the over stuffed chairs. I did not need an alarm clock that morning. I was on the phone to the morning manager before she could have her first cup of coffee. She asked to come up and see the bed. That meant waking and moving my husband. I told her yes. He was not pleased.
“This bed is definitely broken,” she declared. “So is my back,” my husband retorted. I was too tired to comment.
“We will move you to another suite as soon as it is cleaned,” she offered. We nodded our acceptance. Because we were unpacked, I wanted to supervise the change of rooms. This was not the way I had hoped to spend my first day in New York.
Finally settled in our second room, I walked into the bathroom. Sitting and looking around me I suddenly focused on the sink that had literally pulled away from the wall and was ready to fall.
“Oh honey,” I calmly called to my husband. “Would you please come in here?”
“What is that?” he asked incredulously. “Let me call our friend the morning manager,” I responded.
“Oh this is very dangerous,” she observed. She called for the yellow tape they use to block off crime scenes and proceeded to place it over the bathroom entrance.
Completely sleep deprived, at that moment I had had enough. “What are you going to do for us next?” I asked in my most desperate and determined voice.
“Mr. and Mrs. Aleskow, we would like to offer you the hotel apartment for the remainder of your stay,” she answered apologetically. I could see that my husband was beyond caring where his bed would be at this point. One of his least favorite things was having to change rooms. I on the other hand was intrigued by this new proposition.
The hotel apartment had one bedroom, a living room and dining room, and a balcony. It was lovely. The manager had us test the bed and handed us the keys.
We woke up Sunday morning, freshened up and walked out on our balcony overlooking Central Park on our right and Manhattan’s office buildings on our left. My husband put his arm around my shoulders. I sensed a romantic moment about to happen when I felt his body suddenly freeze and tighten.
“Don’t look, don’t look,” he whispered. “Look at what?” I asked barely finishing my question before I saw the answer. From our rooftop balcony we were staring straight into an office-building window with a man and woman having a great Sunday morning visit on a swivel chair.
Not only was my husband whispering for some strange reason, but he was watching this x-rated scene focusing his head away from the sight and practically crossing his eyes to see it. He didn’t want them to notice he was looking.
“I don’t think they are aware of anything at this moment but their own pleasure,” I assured him. Yet, he still would not turn his head toward them for fear of being discovered.
That afternoon we had a theater matinee. Nothing on Broadway could match the scene we watched from our hotel balcony that morning.