The Hotel Chelsea

The Hotel Chelsea

A Story by WhiteWillow

Inspired by The Sex Pistols


Things are changing, and Nancy is restless.

She misses the old days, and she tells me so. We pass the time reminiscing while the landlord removes art from the walls, and rooms are renovated. This hotel used to be colorful and vibrant in a slow-paced, Bohemian sort of way. It was the artistic heart of the city, and a place where the broken and misunderstood were given a chance at survival without question or judgement.

Nancy and I used to live down the hall from one another. I would hole up in room 113 with two other girls, turning tricks for a few bucks, enough to buy heroin from my supplier. When Nancy fancied heroin, she’d come and see me.  Sometimes she would treat me to a hit when my pimp couldn’t get me enough work. We would get high together occasionally, and it was in those moments we bonded behind a hazy curtain of carefree indifference.

Nancy and I weren’t always friends. This place, and our common interests, led us to be acquaintances. Fate kind of threw us together, time and circumstance. She shared glimpses of her childhood with me; not at all intimate, but rather fragmented and disturbing on its surface. Words like suicide and schizophrenia peppered her conversations. She never asked me about my childhood, which was fine; I wouldn’t have been strong enough to re-live the abuse my father put me through.

Nancy didn’t have to turn tricks to make money. Her boyfriend was famous, or at least he had been. They had enough money to live on, and party on, for a while. And when things got tight, they stole everything from food to drugs. She even lived that way during her college years, she told me. It was no big deal. It’s just the way things were.

She says she still runs into her boyfriend now and again. Every time I question Nancy about him, she immediately gets defensive. He’s harmless, she says dismissively, with a wave of her hand, as if brushing away a thought she doesn’t want to be weighed down by.

But Nancy’s agitated state has become unbearable recently. She wanders the halls aimlessly, passing the time without direction or destination. It’s as if she’s trying to find her way through a dense fog, frustrated. She’s looking for something; she knows it’s right there in front of her, and she can’t see it...

And then it dawns on me.

We stroll through the hotel lobby, and I say to her, “You know, Nancy, it wasn’t Sid.”

Her head snaps in my direction, her eyes wide and focused, like someone has just stuck smelling salts under her nose. She accidentally bumps into a chair, and the few people in the lobby are startled by the action.

“What do you mean?” she asks me.

“Sid was falsely accused. It was an accident,” I reply.

Now Nancy is studying me, like I’m speaking in some sort of alien tongue.

“You don’t remember anything, do you?” I ask her.

She drops her head and stays like that for a moment, staring at the linoleum floor.

“I was so messed up that night, everything is still a blur.”

“Well, I wasn’t.”

Nancy lifts her head and is staring at me again, waiting to hear what I have to say.

“I came to see you that night. I knocked on the door and no one answered. It was unlocked, so I walked in. Sid was completely passed out on the bed, drunk I figured. As I called your name, I heard a noise from the bathroom.”

Nancy’s eyes got even wider, as if this was the first time she was hearing this story, her own story.

“I had just gotten some cocaine from a friend. I had the baggie and a knife in my hand when I found you leaning over the sink, already high as a kite. You turned around and lunged at me, trying to grab the baggie. I told you to stop, but you wouldn’t listen. You practically threw yourself at me, and onto my knife.”

As Nancy listened, I could tell it was all new to her. A mixture of sadness and relief seemed to envelop her, washing away any sense of doubt. Her eyes were clear for the first time.

Nancy looked at me, smiled, and simply said, “Thank you.” She headed over to the lobby entrance and drifted through the wall.

She was finally free.

© 2015 WhiteWillow

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Added on February 25, 2015
Last Updated on February 25, 2015



I'm just someone who enjoys writing. Its a great creative outlet, and I love challenging myself to write something better. Being among others who share in this joy is inspirational. more..