I was staying at a luxury hotel in the Sears Tower in Chicago.
I woke up in the middle of the night after being awakened by the sound of someone leaving an adjacent room.
Opening my door, I noticed the room across the hall had been vacated and the occupant had left the door ajar.
Curious, I walked across the hall and looked into the room to find that many personal belongings had been left behind.
Seeing a fanny pack on the dresser, I picked it up observing that not only was it empty, it still had a price tag on it.
Just then, I remembered that I was supposed to meet Steve, Boro’s a longtime friend, at the airport, as Boro called to say he would be delayed getting to Chicago.
I tried calling Boro but when he didn’t answer, I imagined it was because he was already in flight.
Forgetting about Steve’s pending arrival, I went back to my room and got dressed and prepared to leave for the airport.
On my way downstairs to reception, I once again curiously peered into the empty room across the hall.
Getting into the elevator, I pressed the button to the ground floor, but apparently someone on the top floor had already called the elevator so it went up.
Arriving at the top floor, no one was waiting, so I decided to momentarily step out of the elevator and admire the view from the top of Chicago’s tallest building.
Getting back into the elevator, the door closed and the elevator began its rapid descent.
During the long descent, a video played on a screen explaining how the high-speed elevator worked and how its special floor could withstand a great impact on the event there was a catastrophic failure.
I had a momentary panic episode worrying about what would happen if the power went off and what I would do if I were to get stuck in the elevator.
The elevator reached the ground floor and I was greeted at reception by a young woman who I told I needed to book a room for a friend.
When she told me I had to pay for my room first, I told her she could trust me as I was former teacher at Hotelschool of The Hague.
Hearing that, another desk clerk, a young woman with curly dark blonde hair, recognized me and walked over.
“This is Mr. Morris,” the woman explained to her colleague. “He was my English teacher.”
Recognizing the woman’s German accent, I asked her if she had been one of the fast-track students and she said that while she knew most of the fast-trackers were indeed German, she was a regular student on the four-year plan.
I then asked the other young woman who her English was and she replied “Ms. Sally Bridges.”
Then, a young man, also an intern from the school who had been observing the discussion, added that Ms. Bridges was the Kenyan ambassador to the Netherlands and was invited to be a guest lecturer for the semester.
After reserving the room for Steve, I walked across the sky bridge to the airport and as I was crossing the bridge, I noticed Boro waving at me from behind the window of the first class lounge, pointing over to a security checkpoint desk where Steve was seated to the right of an older grey-haired woman.
I reached the checkpoint at the end of the sky bridge and the woman told me to approach so I set a gold-colored token on the desk and the woman asked for my ID and what my profession was.
Hesitating momentarily, I said I was teacher to which the woman asked when I began teaching.
Not exactly sure when my original starting date was, I answered by simply telling the woman I had been a teacher for 26 years.
Steve looked at me, smiled and nodded his head as I walked through the checkpoint.
Boro greeted me at the other side of the checkpoint and I apologized for forgetting about Steve’s arrival and told him that I had booked a room for Steve, but because they knew me at the hotel, I wasn’t required to pre pay for the room.
Boro told me not to worry that Steve had already checked into another hotel but would reimburse me anyway, insinuating that Steve was quite wealthy and enjoyed exploiting his generosity.
Steve soon joined us and pulled me aside saying that he hoped I didn’t go too much out of my way for nothing and that he sincerely appreciated my intentions.
He then removed the Rolex watch from his wrist and gave it to me, thanking me for all of my trouble.
Then I woke up.