He scanned the room once more for anything he might have misplaced or forgotten. He tapped his pockets – phone, wallet, room card-key, rental car keys, his own car keys. So much bulk he had still not adapted to. In boy scouts it was a place for everything and everything in its place and that was enough to get a man by; enough to assure safe and comfortable camping the next night. But things were changing fast and his own ability to adapt to those changes was slowing down. Or maybe his willingness to adapt was simply waning with the years. Nothing was simple anymore and nothing standard.
One last time around the little room. The bathroom, the closet, the chest of drawers, the drawers in the desk and end table. All clear. Yet he knew that when he returned to his empty home he would be missing something. Something was always out of place, requiring him or his secretary to make phone calls and have receipts emailed or faxed. Why even try.
At one time this life had appeared glamorous to him. Days on the road. Nice hotels, new rental cars, people to meet. But the perqs had diminished over the years and his own appreciation for them had faded. One trip was the same as another; there was nothing worth remembering. He could not identify one personal event from any year in the past decade. Nothing to mark the time. He could retire now, and he had considered it many times. He’d calculated his income from his pension, investment accounts. It would all work out. But what would he retire to? The newspaper and a daily trip downtown for coffee?
Where had it all led? And what was it supposed to have led to? He lifted the suitcase from the newly-made bed and saw the note from the hotel maid.
I see that you are checking out this afternoon. Safe travels. It has been great taking care of you.