Song Title Short Story #13

Redondo Beach – Morrissey

“I don’t need this bullshit,” Clare yelled. “Who do you think you are?”

“I’m the man who brought you here to try and help you relax,” Mark yelled back. “Some thanks this is!” He reached over for his phone and stood up to leave. Clare stormed into the bathroom and slammed the door behind her. Mark stood in the hotel room, seething. He looked around for his shoes.

He was just finishing tying the laces on his shoes when Clare came out of the bathroom. She sat down on the bed next to him, but he ignored her, studiously looping the lace and wrapping the other one round before finishing with a deliberate motion. Just to be sure, he double tied it as he had with the other shoe. Clare cleared her throat as if to talk, but before she could start, Mark stood up and walked to the door. He stopped for a moment, then turned round.

“Actually, why am I going?”

“What do you mean?” Clare asked, a little puzzled.

“I paid for this room. Maybe you should go instead?” Mark almost sneered. “Go on, take your things and go.” Clare looked at him in a state of shock. Without a word, she stood up, grabbed her bag off the bed and stormed out. Mark threw himself down on the bed and buried his head in the pillow.

It was about two and a half hours later, Mark was half-watching something on television, and he felt bad. He couldn’t even remember what had set off the argument. He picked his mobile off the bed next to him and dialled Clare’s number. It rang out for a bit and then went to answerphone. He left a grovelling message and begged her to come back. He went over to the window and looked out at the sea view he had paid extra for. His attention was drawn to a crowd just by the water’s edge. An ambulance was there. He felt sorrow for whoever was in trouble, but he couldn’t get Clare off his mind. He turned away from the window and headed for the door, swiping the room key off the table as he passed.

He came out of the lift into the hotel foyer. He went over to the reception desk and asked the young girl if Clare had come past. The girl listened to his description and gave a shrug of her shoulders.

“It’s been busy.” She told him. Mark thanked her and went out through the front entrance. As he walked, a group of elderly ladies hurried past. He heard snippets of conversation – ‘poor girl’, ‘troubled soul’ and ‘pretty’. He saw the ambulance drive off down the street and an inexplicable feeling of dread came over him. He ran back to the hotel and spoke to a different receptionist who was just removing his coat. Mark described Clare to him. The guy looked at him with sadness in his eyes.

Mark went up to the room again and threw himself on the bed, tears streaming down his face.

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