NUMBER ONE: “THE EVER-CHANGING PICTURE”
NUMBER ONE: “THE EVER-CHANGING PICTURE”
I was recently forced to move into a hotel for a week while some serious mold remediation and consequent bathroom remodeling made my condo temporarily uninhabitable. As I fell asleep I was still in the same hotel, but now I was just finishing up their free, complete breakfast buffet and returning to my room.
It was my first day there and as I entered the room I suddenly saw an object that was definitely not there when I had checked in. It was a small, eight by ten framed picture of a beautiful, multicolored waterfall that looked like it was recreated from a hand-painted work. The water rushed down violently from a great height amid a forest with many tree branches advancing from their growth into the torrential downpour. The thick forestation surrounding the water greatly accented the flowing current. The water appeared to be of many different colors as if it was hitting rocks and abutments underneath the water,producing white air bubbles amongst the bluish-green torrent. I was going to call the front desk and tell them that someone must have left a picture behind when they checked out since it seemed so incongruent in a typical hotel surrounding. It was placed neatly next to the TV set.
I was once in a hotel room in a seaside community in a town called Seal Beach, California and there was a small, furry seal toy place upon the bed. That made sense for the overall “theme” of where I was but this was just a Best Western “chain” hotel along an average street in Florida. Weird.
In any case I was late for an appointment somewhere. I say “somewhere” since I don’t remember that detail but I decided to take a shower first. When I emerged from the shower I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! The picture had changed completely! Now I was looking at what appeared to be a family portrait taken some years ago. The beautiful waterfall was gone and now the group of six people in an obviously dated photo sat there, gathered around and looking at me! I didn’t recognize anyone in the picture and yet there was a very vague, uneasy feeling, not quite recognizable, that somewhere in mind there was something that reminded me of a similar scene in my memory. I couldn’t call the front desk now. If I told them what I had witnessed they would have thought I was nuts! I dressed and left the hotel room, headed out to somewhere I don’t remember.
I returned to the hotel room sometime later and immediately froze my gaze upon the picture. It was totally different yet again! This time it was a western landscape full of sand and cactus plants with the sun disappearing over a horizon. The colors and hues were all tan, brown, and orange, illuminated by a faint a setting sun. There were no people in the picture but it was stunningly beautiful. This scene also looked as if it was a reproduction of a painting.
I turned on the TV since this was just a little too much to take and during the first commercial I happened to gaze over at the picture and saw yet another completely different scene. This was the interior of a gambling casino somewhere, complete with roulette wheels, flashing bright lights and hundreds of people sitting around poker and blackjack tables and looking like a regular eight by ten photograph! I was literally dizzy at this point and turned to the small hotel room refrigerator to grab a beer and try to make sense out of all this.
As I turned back again I dropped the beer as I was completely frozen in my tracks to see that the picture had again completely changed back to the family portrait that had to be over 75 years old. Again I was struck by a vague feeling that I had known some of these people. And yet this was impossible. I wasn’t old enough to have known any of them from such a long time ago. Then………slowly……….I gradually faded away,disappearing myself…out of the hotel…out of the scene….and into blissful nothingness.