I quietly entered the hotel room.
It was unlit save for illumination from hallway sconces and the digital clock glowing “11:13 pm.” Not wanting to wake the others, I tiptoed to the bathroom.
For two hours, I’d played 16th century recorder tunes and danced barefoot in a ballroom with fellow conference diehards. I needed to wash my face and get some sleep before an 8:00 am drumming workshop.
I didn’t want to miss a single minute of this event.
I was happily attending another AOSA National Conference. Every November, I learned teaching techniques, discovered new activities and then returned to my classroom inspired and rejuvenated. As a bonus, the 2003 gathering in Louisville included a reunion with Jen and Bryan, two music teachers I’d met the previous summer at a certification course.
We’d had fun catching up the first night. Jen announced she was pregnant. Bryan gushed over his new beau. We talked about jobs and life, excited to be roommates for the next three days.
The next day, I crammed in as many sessions as I could. I took a breather in our room before attending a late evening session.
Jen, experiencing first trimester fatigue, was relaxing in the double bed we shared. As we compared notes on that day’s presentations, Bryan bounded into the room. He dramatically flopped on the bed beside Jen, making her laugh. His perfume of cigarette smoke and alcohol told us he had been “networking” in the hotel bar. He planned to grab something from the room before returning to the festivities. Jen was chuckling at his intoxicated ramblings when I departed.
Ready to hit the sack, I inched across the now darkened room. I could barely see the outlines of the furniture. Once at the bed, I tried to pull back the covers, but realized my side was occupied. Concluding that Jen had shifted in her sleep, I slunk to the other side. No space there either. Thinking it was rude to wake a pregnant woman, I faced a quandary. Bryan may be gay, but I didn’t feel comfortable sleeping with a man other than my husband. My remaining option was the loveseat near the door.
I laid on it, my feet hanging over the side, a rock hard throw pillow under my head and my coat serving as an inadequate blanket. As if the discomfort wasn’t enough, someone began snoring.
As the digital clock mocked me by announcing the passing minutes and hours, I couldn’t even toss and turn on the tiny sofa. Stubbornly set in my “gotta do it all!” frame of mind, I fretted. I had to get up early to shower, dress, eat breakfast, find the proper room and claim a seat for my first session.
I was finally inspired to move the sofa cushions to the floor. My feet still dangled, but weren’t propped at an odd angle. I managed to sleep, but I wasn’t rested when I rolled off the cushions at 6:30 am.
The approaching dawn brightened the room. When I stood, I glanced over to the two double beds. That’s when I saw that Bryan had never moved from the spot where he crashed beside Jen the night before.
His bed had been empty all night.