Your flight got cancelled and the only hotel with rooms still available is Hotel Why Didn’t It Work Out Between Us. When you go to get a drink at the bar you see seven guys from your past, three who you slept with but never got serious with, two close friends you always thought you should have slept with but the timing was just never right, one guy who you dated briefly and you still think you should have married, and Marty, your ex-husband.
“Heeeeeey!” they all shout in unison. There’s no one else in the bar but them. Not even a bartender, even though when you look down there’s a drink in your hand.
“So why didn’t it work out between us?” asks Lance, who you slept with eleven times. You both agree the timing was just wrong. You finish your drink. There’s another one in your hand.
“I still wonder why it never worked out between us,” Jeremy says to you. You’re in a booth with him. You tell him he was too angry then, but in the times you’ve seen him since you can tell he’s calmed down, and you feel like maybe if you’d hooked up now instead of back then, maybe. You thought you saw the waitress who brought Jeremy his sparkling water, but it was just a curtain moving with the draft from the window.
“You know what I can’t stop thinking about?” Max asks you, resting his drunk chin on the lip of his beer just like he did the night he convinced you to go home with him.
“I was getting over someone,” you tell him. “So were you. We helped each other through that, but I’m not sure we would have even given each other a second glance otherwise.” You’re getting better at this. Quicker.
“You were drunk throughout the entire marriage Marty,” you tell your ex-husband. “I tried staying with you after you got sober, but we didn’t click as well.”
More exes and flings file into the bar. You start barking at them, “It was the wrong time for us!” and “People change!” as they approach you. You get cornered by a guy you don’t even remember. He says his name’s Chris. He’s crying, insisting that he loves his kids and his wife for giving them to him, but he still can’t help but wonder.
You’re about to give him a line about two ships sailing in the night or maybe you’ll hand him something about a broken clock being right twice a day (does that apply?) when you look over his shoulder at the mirror behind the bar and you see an entirely different clientele, couples, married and dating, flirting and deflecting, all of them strangers, none of them demanding you join them in wondering what might have been.
The mirror clouds with smoke. It’s all exes again. Chris won’t budge.
“We’ll always have Chicago,” you tell Chris.
“Chicago?” Chris asks.
You do your damndest to place.
Chris shakes his head no. You stomp on his foot. As he’s hopping up and down you race from the bar, grab your bags from the bellman and speed back to the airport where you’ll sleep at the gate, making sure to part your hair differently than you’ve ever worn it, practice saying “no English” in an accent, just in case you bump into anyone you know.
Happy Hotel Why Didn’t It Work Out Between Us Day!