• “Sir, are you heading somewhere?” (Frontdeskman) flashed his rehearsed smile at me, hiding his British accent. “If you are going out to eat, may I suggest some fine places? We have only the finest cuisine and it is only a few miles away.”

    “No, I’m just going for a drive,” I answered, continuing my walk towards the exit.

    The man rushed to the back room. He flew out of the door into the lobby and practically darted in front of me. He straightened his grey formal tuxedo. He cleared his throat. “Well in that case, you should visit our finest museum- (museum name)! It is only just a few miles away, also, and well worth the distance!”

    The name sparked my interest. “Is that so? May I see directions?”

    (Name)’s eyes lit up. He scurried back to the desk. “Come this way, please. I will have directions printed out right-“ the printer buzzed and clicked, consuming a blank piece of paper and spewing ink on it, like most printers do. “And here it is!” (Name) reached over the desk, handing me the paper. “If you mention that you are staying at our hotel and show your key, you will get a 10% discount on any children’s tickets!”

    “But I have no child,” I pointed out.

    (Name)’s face blushed. “W-well, of c-course not. So sorry Mr. Grant. That was a mistake on my part. Of course you wouldn’t have children with you. You ordered a week stay for a one person party. And you being the one person in so said one person party, how could you possibly have more than one person? I am terribly, terribly-“

    I turned around, walking towards the exit once more.


    The car stuttered and spurred into life. It shook as I backed out of the parking spot. My little car wasn’t the best around, but it was my mother’s old car and it got me where I needed to go. Being a college student, I didn’t really need to go many places that required me to drive.

    Drowning out the whirrs and groans of my vehicle, my mind drifted to think about my mother. She had already been in the hospital for (blah) years, and nothing had gone wrong, but I still couldn’t help but worry for her safety. Sure, the nurses informed me of all the safety precautions. It was a good, organized hospital. It was clean, too. Squeaky clean. Still, there was that voice in the back of my head.

    I tried to be like my mother. I ignored the voice. I tried to stay optimistic. My mother always found the good side of things. I remembered growing up and she would tell Lottie and me how no matter how empty the cup looks, it’s always filled with air. My mother’s jokes weren’t always the funniest.

    Even when we lost my father, my mother kept her smile. She encouraged Lottie and me to cry, sure. And she also cried. But my mother never got truly upset. She didn’t get angry. She just somehow knew that it had been our father’s “time”. I can’t say that I agree, but what’s done is, sadly, done.

    To my left, I spotted a museum. Now, I wasn’t the type of person to jump at every chance to observe bits and pieces of history. I was born an English Major. But I did have time to spare. I pulled into the museum’s parking lot. If my math skilled served me right, which they only rarely did, I had at least (blah) hours before I had to return to my dorm. That would give me just enough time to pack all of my clothes and belongings for the trip to my mother’s. I had plenty of time to wander around the museum. My car screeched to a halt and sighed heavily as I switched it off.


    Upon leaving the hotel, I realized that I had no means of transportation. Although I felt that it high decreased my self-righteous reputation that (frontdeskman) seemed to hold to me, I spun around and sneaked back into the hotel. (frontdeskman) was there, waiting for me or any other guest to return.

    He put on a shocked face. “Mr. Grant, back so soon? Have you decided not to go out today?”
    I quickly walked to his desk. “I have no car. Could you call me a cab?” I mumbled, feeling foolish that I hadn’t thought of it before.

    (Frontdeskman) nodded too enthusiastically. He picked up the phone and clamped it to his ear. He dialed a short number. “Yes. Yes, yes,” he repeated urgently. “A cab for Mr. Duke Grant,” he ordered. “When?” he gave me a questionable look. “When?” he repeated, this time to me.

    “Well, now. If it’s possible.”

    “Yes! Of course now. Right now. Or as close to now as possible. Yes. Alright them. Yes, thank you.” He hung the phone up then looked to me, “The cab will be here in around ten minutes.”

    “Alright. Thank you,” I said. “I’ll wait outside.”

    “Where to?” the man was fairly older than the first cab driver. His shoulders hunched. He turned to look at me. His name tag read Fred. Fred’s eyes lids drooped as if he were still half asleep.

    “(Blahmuseum), please.”

    “Alright,” Fred replied. He turned around in his seat and started the car. Unlike Jerry, Fred did not turn on the radio. He cleared his throat. “So, where are ya from, young man?”

    I fidgeted. I hadn’t been called “young man” in years. The words repeated in my mind. For the past two years, I had been so concerned with how mature I was. I tried my best to escape any hint of immaturity. But this man still saw me as a child?

    No. Of course I was over thinking it. “I’m from America. Georgia,” I answered.

    “Oh, well, I don’t have much to say to that, boy. Never left London once. Never left Southwark unless I was drivin’ someone. I was born here and I’ve been livin’ here for as many years as I am today.” Fred glanced in the rear view mirror, adding, “And don’t you be askin’ how old I am, boy.”

    I chuckled, “I wouldn’t dare, sir.”

    “Good. That’s because you’ve got manners. Young people these days, they’ve lost ‘em. You can’t be a day older than twenty, boy. How old are you?”

    “Twenty-four, sir.”

    “Hm, I see. Are you a traveler?”

    I thought about it for a minute. “I am. I travel a lot. But once I get to the place, I don’t do much. I order room service. I watch TV.”

    “Well, that’s a bloody shame, boy.”

    Fred pulled up to the museum. There were only three cars in the parking lot. I reached into my pocket and pulled out the man’s money. “Thank you.” Fred grunted in reply as he took the money.

    “Good bye,” I said, stepping out of the car.

    “Wait, wait!” Fred called. He grabbed my sleeve and dragged me to his window. “A young man like you shouldn’t be wastin’ away his life. I don’t got much time left. And I’m a perfect example of what you’re gunna turn out to be if you don’t brighten up your life, boy. You hear me? From today on, you’re gunna travel and really travel. You gotta see the world. Just because you got your foot on some different land, don’t mean you really know it. You hear me?”

    “I do, sir,” I answered quickly, startled.

    “Good. And now, you’re welcome.” Fred drove off, almost running over my feet.

    I could only stare at the cab as it grew farther and farther away. His words stuck to me like glue. I already knew what I was doing to my life. I wasn’t travelling for the thrills. I wasn’t travelling to observe new cultures. I was travelling because I had the money, because I could. I was just trying to get farther and farther from home. I already knew what I was doing to my life. He was right. I just wish I had gotten the chance to tell him that I had no choice.

    I walked into the museum. I paid for my ticket. I walked around the museum, stopping at every presentation. Everything was sparkly and clean. There were plaques describing war items and what they had been used for. There were swords and different types of guns.
    My breathing got heavy. I reached in my pocket, feeling a plastic toy. Bringing it out, I ran my finger across the green figurine. Its gun matched the gun under the glass.


    “M’am, if you don’t have the money, we cannot let you in,” the lady tapped her foot on the marble floor.

    I was kneeling on the ground. My purse sat in front of me. “No. I have a card. I told you. The card! You guys gave certain families a free visit card.”

    “M’am, I don’t think-“

    “Well, it was years ago,” I hissed, digging deeper into my purse, placing my wallet and papers and chap stick and arcade coins and wrappers next to me. “Maybe you didn’t work here at the time. My parents took Lottie and me. Lottie is my sister. I was so bored.”

    “Then why are you so eager to go today?” the lady asked, smugly looking at me.

    I glared at her, “I’m not! I just have to find- Oh!” I picked up a bent, plastic card, “This is it! See?” I handed it to the lady, throwing everything else back into my purse. I stood as she examined it. “It was all the way in the bottom. I told you, it’s been a few years.”

    “Oh, I see. We give these out during holidays, miss.” The lady walked behind her desk and clicked on her computer. She typed in a code. “Alright. I hope you enjoy your visit.”

    “Thank you!” I walked away, pleased at having found the card. She was right. My family and I went here long ago when I was only four or five. Lottie was much smaller. My father had still been alive. It was a few days before Christmas that we went. It was more for Lottie than it was for me. I walked past the glass boxes. I didn’t need to look too closely at them. Lottie had dragged me to every exhibit at least twenty times during out only visit.

    I stopped as I saw a man staring at a plaque. He hardly moved. The man wore a black short sleeved polo and jeans. By his exposed arms, I could see that he had muscles and that he was also freckled and Caucasian. His hair was mostly brown stubble, like he had buzzed it off a while ago.

    I made my way next to him, pretending to look at the plaque. “Very interesting,” I commented. I looked his way for a second. I saw that he wasn’t even looking at the plaque. He held a small green plastic army toy. He turned it over and over in his hands.

    “Hm?” his eyes flashed to me, and I caught his gaze for a second. He had dark green eyes and freckles splattered around his face. He shoved the toy in his pocket. “It is,” he answered, quickly looking over the plaque.

    I turned to him. “My name is Prissy,” I said, holding out my hand and flashing a smile.
    The man shook it, replying, “Duke.”


    “Very interesting,” a girl whispered. She stood next to me.

    “Hm?” I glanced at her. Her brown eyes met my own. She wore an orange silk scarf over a long sleeved black shirt and jeans. Her skin was a caramel brown. Her hair was light burgundy and was held in a loose bun at the side of her head. I shoved the army man in my pocket. “It is,” I answered. I frantically observed the plaque.

    “My name is Prissy,” she told me. She had turned to me and was now holding out her hand. I took it in my own and shook it as she grinned. Two small dimples formed at the sides of her mouth.

    “Duke,” I replied.


    Heading back to my dorm, I couldn’t get the man, Duke, out of my mind. I couldn’t forget how startled he had looked. I couldn’t help but wonder why he seemed so attached to that plastic toy. He was so odd. Right after the introduction, he apologized and left.

    My room was empty. My roommate was probably at a party. She was the second person I had called earlier. And she told me that she had studying to do.

    Before going to bed, I sat at my desk. I took out a journal, opened it and started writing. Ever since I was young, this was a custom. I suppose you could call it a diary. I wrote a few meaningless things and I wrote about Duke. I changed into pajamas. I hid the journal under my pillow.