Updated: Jan 13
I just arrived in a town I'd never visited before and found my way to my hotel.
The front desk clerk gave me instructions on how to use my keycard and told me that my room was on the second floor and that I could use the stairs just around the corner.
I walked up one flight of stairs to find the second floor, remembering that in Europe the ground floor is the floor above the ground floor.
I arrived at my room, number 241*, entered, tossed my bag on the bed without even switching on the light to inspect the room and immediately walked out and back downstairs to the lobby.
The clerk, who seemed to be expecting my return, was already holding the set of car keys I was coming to collect for my rental car. The young man told me the valet had gone for the car and if I waited outside, the car would arrive momentarily.
I stepped outside and walked around the corner to survey the area and came upon glass door on the side of the hotel.
Inside, there was a corridor of hotel rooms and a young Black girl who appeared to be about 16 or 17, visibly shaken and crying.
I knocked on the glass door trying to get the girl's attention and she gestured for me to leave her alone.
As I turned around and began walking away, the door opened and the girl emerged, calling me to come back.
She apologized saying she thought I was someone else and I asked her if she was okay.
She broke down into tears and fell into my arms.
I awkwardly held her and asked her if there was anything I could do for her or if she wanted me to call the police.
She said she just wanted me to get her away from the hotel.
I told her I had just arrived in town and was waiting for my rental car, that I had planned to take a drive around and get familiar with the city.
She asked if she could come along for the ride just as the car pulled into the hotel's driveway and I was surprised to see that it wasn't the modest car I had requested, but a sleek, silver, luxury sports car.
We drove around and I asked her if she wanted to talk about what had happened that made her so upset at the hotel; she said she preferred not to talk about it, that she wanted to put it behind her and just enjoy the moment.
She asked me where I got the car and I told her I rented it; she seemed confused by my answer and asked me how much it cost. When I told her, she seemed surprised that a car would cost so little.
We eventually arrived back at the hotel and I asked her what she planned on doing and said she would like to stay with me and have something to eat.
I told her I wanted to go up to my room for a minute to wash up and she asked if she could come along.
We walked up the stairs and passed the second floor and when we arrived at the fourth floor it suddenly occurred to me that I had forgotten both my room number and the floor it was on, though I was convinced there was a "four" in the room number.
The girl then asked me how much my hotel room was and, just like before, seemed surprised by my answer, saying she thought it was strange that a hotel room would cost so little.
I told her I needed to go back downstairs to ask for my room number and told her to wait for me in the stairway. She thanked me and gave me a kiss on my cheek.
Then I woke up.
*241 is my cable provider's CNN news channel number.