Dreams of the Hotel Exeter: Room 436

Bancroft Hotel

The Hotel Exeter, established 1913 in Utica, New York. If you listen, she’ll share some of her memories — maybe not quite the way you expect.

When a building dreams, it dreams through you.

It took four attempts with her card key before Rachel got the door open. She stumbled into the room, tipsy from the unaccustomed two manhattans and feeling slightly embarrassed about her evening’s behavior. Flirting with another conference attendee! Letting him buy her drinks! Good thing tomorrow would be the last day of the conference.

The conversation had been mostly shop talk — hadn’t it? But not entirely. At least she’d had the sense not to prattle on about how “Young Alex” (that’s what she called him in her mind) was probably about her son’s age. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to run into him tomorrow or not. What if he thought she was some horny cougar?

As she removed her makeup, she scrutinized her reflection. Not too bad: only faint crow’s feet at the eyes; her chin and the skin at her throat were still firm. Her tummy was reasonably flat; her graying hair colored a natural-looking chestnut brown.

“MILF,” she said to the mirror, and giggled.

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Dreams of the Hotel Exeter: Room 733

Bancroft Hotel

The Hotel Exeter, established 1913 in Utica, New York. So many things have happened in her rooms. Sometimes, she’ll tell you about them — in her own way.

When a building dreams, it dreams through you.

As Jeff waited for the tub to fill, he cracked open the bottle of Johnny Walker from the courtesy fridge. Why not? He was on expense account. Bottle in hand, he walked back to the bathroom and poured in the packet of bath salts, sipping his whiskey as the flowery, citrusy smell filled the space.The other guys in Sales might laugh if they knew, but a hot bath was Jeff’s victory ritual.

And this one was well deserved; the VP had driven a hard bargain. These small-time companies in out-of-the-way cities were always the hardest: they squeezed all they could from every dollar.

But in the end, the VP had signed. Jeff took a last swig from the bottle, then undressed and got into the tub. The bubbles and foam crackled softly, comfortingly. He closed his eyes and let the warmth seep through his skin….

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Dreams of the Hotel Exeter: Room 904

Bancroft Hotel

The Hotel Exeter, established 1913 in Utica, New York. She’s seen a lot of things. Sometimes she dreams about them.

How do buildings dream, you ask? Through the people who dwell in them.

On Friday, Mara signed the divorce papers. On Monday — what would have been their 9th anniversary — she left for a business trip to upstate New York.

Eight hours and three time zones later, she landed in Syracuse. It was 11 PM; the airport was deserted. The man at the car rental desk kept sneaking glances at his watch as he looked up her car. She still had the 50 minute drive to Utica, probably more in this sleety, slushy, frozen rain.

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“Eating alone again, I see.” His tongue tickles my left ear as he whispers this, sliding past my shoulder to slip into the place across from me in the diner booth. “This is getting to be a habit.”

“She was tired. And I don’t like conversation over breakfast, anyway,” I reply, hoping that for once he’ll get the hint. He just tilts his diamond-shaped head to one side and smirks, his tongue continuing to flick in and out. The waitress comes by to take his order: rabbit, live, and a bowl of water. I look down at my plate and concentrate on my bacon and eggs over hard, hoping he’ll just find a newspaper and not torture me. But no.

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