one night with melanie

It was a short walk from the station, but a bitterly cold one.

Nearing the hotel I could see someone sitting huddled against the railings, and stopping, could see it was a woman, wrapped in a large black coat, shivering and crying softly.

At the hotel John recognised her  ....   Melanie  ...  a regular round here .. and drunk and drugged up too by the look of her ... but not one of the bad ones.

I asked John to find a room for her, but there wasn’t one and he said he couldn’t risk letting her sleep in a public area, so we took her to my room, lay her on the bed and covered her with blankets.

In the morning I woke to find her looking at me from the bed ....  bleary black-stained eyes, lipstick smeared, tangled hair, but with an inquisitive look on her face.

Any chance of a shower?

Through there ... no women’s stuff I’m afraid, but help yourself to anything you see.

It wasn’t the same woman that came out of the bathroom ... damp hair neatly combed back, shiny face clear of makeup, eyes bright ... naked ... and beautiful.

She lay back on the bed and with a mischievous smile said ... any chance of breakfast? toast will do.

As we left the room, she turned and held me for a moment ..... you didn’t do anything .. thanks for that.

Outside, I asked her to be careful, to find someone to look after her ... next time you might end up dead.

She reached up and kissed my cheek ...

and in a whisper, said... it’s too late ...

I already am.