Her Little White LieBy: Cj Howard
“This is Mrs. Gorman,” the voice on the other end said. “I'd like to speak to one of your guests, a Mr. Steven Gorman, my husband.”
“Certainly, Mrs. Gorman, your husband is in room 303.” I put her right through. I knew the guy in 303, Mr. Gorman, booked in fifteen minutes ago with a red-head half his age, saying she was Mrs. Gorman.
Alicia rushed over after I hung up.
“Girl, what you doing? You want to get fired?” I looked all around, making sure a supervisor wasn't nearby.
“Listen, I just heard from Damion. Is it true?”
“Is what true?” I also spoke in a stage whisper.
“You got engaged, bitch, and you didn't even tell us you were dating.”
“Yes, 'oh that'. When were you going to tell us? Just because we make beds doesn't mean we have to be the last to know.”
“When was that ever the case? We all know the chambermaids have eyes and ears in the back of their heads.”
“But we didn't know about this! Who is it? Bill on security? Justin in events management? Suzette said he was gay coz of how he walk, but I said that don't account for nothing these days. It's him, right?”
“Listen, you girls will get us all in trouble. I'll explain later. A guest.” I looked over at the hotel entrance.
Someone walked in via the rotating door. I was so relieved to see Mr. Iglesias with his walking stick, coming to the desk. He had saved me again.
“Buenos dias!” I said to him. “You took an early walk today.”
“Some last minute shopping, Grace. Have you finished yours? How about for you fiancé? What did you buy for him?”
Mr. Iglesias did not wait for an answer. I handed back his room key and he was on his way to the elevator.
That's when the lie hit me deeply. How could I have lied to the sweet, little Mr. Iglesias? He was always so kind and open with me. I looked over at him where he stood waiting for the elevator. I heard it arrive at the ground floor and open. Mr. Iglesias looked back at me before getting in and gave me a wink. I didn't know how to interpret it, but let's just say, I think Mr. Iglesias had just agreed to help me keep my secret.
I wish the same could have been said about Alicia and Suzette. I didn't dare go to the staff restaurant for lunch that day because I knew they'd be there waiting for an update on my relationship status. They would not let me alone until they'd heard all about my engagement. All I had to do was survive the holidays and then my fiancé and I could break up and no one would be any the wiser. It was fifteen days to Christmas and I had no idea what kind of hole I was digging for myself.
I tiptoed out of the hotel, hoping to grab a hot dog or a pretzel for lunch. Not healthy but anything to avoid the girls who, as luck would have it, just happened to be inches from the pretzel guy on third. They started waving frantically when they saw me, both of them devouring super-sized hot dogs with extra ketchup. It had to have been a set up.
“Ladies,” I said, trying to act casual.
“Sooo,” Alicia said and grabbed my left hand. “Let's see how rich this guy is. What? No ring, Grace?”
“I don't want to wear it to work. I might lose it.”
“And we wouldn't want that to happen, would we?” Suzette agreed, licking ketchup from her overly lipsticked lips.
“How long you been seeing this dude?” Alicia moved closer. I backed away and stepped on a passing terrier. It barked loudly and made me jump.
“How long?” I repeated. “Just six months.”
“Bit of a whirlwind, wouldn't you say, Grace?” Alicia stood holding the hot dog in one hand, onions dropping on the pavement at her feet as she looked me up and down.
“Well, you know,” I said. “Love works in mysterious ways.”
Suzette, stepped in closer. “And what's his name, huh?”
“His name?” My eyes drifted across the street. I had read that when people tell lies, it shows in their eyes. If their eyes go to the right, they're lying. I wasn't sure if I was looking left or right but I quickly looked back to Suzette who still had ketchup on the side of her mouth.
“Kucher?” I said.
“Kutcher?” she said. “Like the actor? Don't tell me you're engaged to Ashton Kutcher.”
“No, Red Kucher. Well, I call him Red because of his hair. He's real name is Mikey.”
“Mikey Kucher, huh? Sounds like a white guy. You engaged to be married to a white guy and you don't even have the decency to let us know. So what, us women of color not good enough for your little white boyfriend.”