This afternoon Travis and I drove down here to San Diego to attend my student Peter's wedding. What a gorgeous ceremony and delicious, fun reception. And Peter looked so handsome in his tux and hot pink vest and Melissa looked beautiful in a sublime beaded strapless gown. They both looked so happy.
We sat and gabbed with Dianne and Ron, and Andy, and afterward drove back to the hotel. At 10 p.m. Travis and I stood in the parking garage on the 3rd floor of the Doubletree, waiting for the elevator. The door opened and out wandered a toddler, a little Hispanic girl in a tee-shirt and undies. Travis and I looked at each other, wearing blank, then befuddled, looks.
Where's your mommy? I said to the girl. Travis' dark eyes went wide. He said nothing.
C'mon, honey, I said, trying to grab her hand to get her back in the elevator to go down to the lobby. She rambled in toddler Spanish and of course my Spanish is bad.
We got her back into the elevator and hit the button for the lobby. Travis did not say a word while I was thinking, how does someone lose a little girl? And what if it wasn't us finding her but someone else?
We got her over to the registration desk and I said to the reservationist who had checked us in, We just found this little girl.
A moment before he was laughing with the couple he was helping with directions, but now he looked completely puzzled.
And then from the direction of the elevator I saw a couple of Hispanic women looking slightly curious as they looked around and I said to the reservationist, Maybe one of them is the mom, and then one of the women saw the little girl and yes, it was the mom, or auntie, or someone, anyway, who was connected to the cutie.
She picked up the girl and they went into the elevator. So did we. I said, We found her coming out of the elevator on the third floor, and she said, Oh, thank you, and I'm thinking she wasn't as freaked out as we were, as Travis was, as I would be if I just lost my kid.
They got off on the 8th floor. On the ride up to the 14th floor, we said little. Travis was unsettled. What's wrong? I said. I don't know, he said. Then: That was weird!
Our room key didn't work, and Travis said, I don't like San Diego.
Oh, come on, I said, it's a good thing it was us who were there. Someone else might have snatched her for his or her own.
Don't say that! Travis said.
I'm just saying, I said.
We tried the key a few more times, then hiked back down the hall to the house phone and called the lobby. Someone will come up with a new key, a voice told me. Travis sounded funny, incredulous, when he said, Shouldn't we have a little bit of good karma for that?
Why are you so freaked out? I said.
He said he imagined the mother was killed in her hotel room and that was why the girl was wandering around alone and in the elevator.
Honey, I said, but I'm thinking: My kid has watched one too many Hitchcock films and has brainstormed with me about plot for noir stories a bit too much, maybe?
A bellman came with a new key, we strode down the hall to our room and the key worked.
Travis knows how to plot. He has a great imagination and spins out plots to me, or inciting incidents for stories. I've kidded him: You're great at plot for someone who doesn't want to write.
But now he was saying he wanted a Moleskine notebook so he could write these things down.
You have two Moleskines, I said. We'd just bought him two pocket sized notebooks a couple of weeks ago.
Those are for music, he said. I need one to write down stories, to write a book. I'm going to write a book, he said, laughing strangely, surprising himself at hearing those words.
Writing would help you purge this stuff, for sure, I told him, as he went into the bathroom. I was still feeling a bit creeped out, too. I started thinking: What if those women weren't the kid's relatives, but someone else, or what if they were doing her harm, and she escaped, and now we sent her back to her tormentors?
Such is a writer's mind, always going, always imagining....