Advent at the Hampton Inn

A hotel lobby, a cramped wallflower table. The hesitant scuttle of broken fasts. The man-sized screen, brighter than a thousand votives, in whose light we see light: I avert my eyes but cannot elude the fast-pitch prophecy, the effervescent urge to self-improvement. Nor the smell of frozen waffles toasting, plastic syrup warming, chemistry-sweet, essence of a new creation of laboratory trees and orchids. I have, thankfully, already eaten. I sip what is called coffee. A man in a red shirt vacuums the welcome mat. I watch the door, upon whose glass is etched thanks in letters lowercase and agreeably spaced, lest the relative stridency of capitalization put some weary sojourner off her breakfast. I watch the door. Watch and wait, watch and wait. For what? For God? O Come, O Come Emmanuel! And lo, the glass is slid aside and there comes upon us a gust of wind, a brief uncomfortable chill from the parking lot that rolls over cleaning staff and the business traveler alike. The morning invades: then the door slides to, and we are once more shut tight against it. thanks