Hell's Hotel

Hell's Hotel by Lesley Choyce Read Free Book Online

Book: Hell's Hotel by Lesley Choyce Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lesley Choyce
been fishing for, a chance to say some things out loud. Nothing ever felt real to her until she said it out loud. She knew some things were changing in her life in a big way. “I’ve been doing some serious thinking,” she began. “I think it’s mostly because I know it’s over between Josh and me.”
    â€œYou had a fight?”
    â€œNo. It wasn’t like that.” She explained about The Rage and then added, “I just want to be more independent, that’s all. I’m going to tell Josh it’s over. Anyway, I haven’t heard from him all week.”
    â€œHe’ll be crushed.”
    â€œNothing can hurt his feelings. Don’t worry.”
    â€œHe is human. Just because he’s a boy doesn’t mean he doesn’t have feelings.”
    â€œI’ll be gentle,” Tara said, but she found herself almost laughing. Then she got serious again. “That’s just the first step. I mean my parents already think of me as completely grown-up and independent. They left me alone for the weekend. They know I can take care of myself. I’m going to be out of high school in a year and a half. I don’t want to go to university right away. I’m tired of sitting in classrooms and being lectured to. I want to do something.”
    Emma was smiling. “It seems the only time you have to dream your great dreams is when you are young like you or old like me.”
    â€œTell me your dreams, Emma.”
    â€œMy dreams are all about what I once had: a husband, a nice house, good kids. Never thought much about it until it began to disappear. Once you lose your health, all you have left is your dreams.”
    â€œBut there must have been more.”
    â€œOh, I sometimes wished I could have done other things. Maybe I could have become a doctor, or written a novel. You know.”
    â€œDon’t you regret that you didn’t do those things?”
    Emma leaned over. She could have been brushing a tear from her eye. “No,” she said. “No regrets. Now enough about me and the past. I want to hear about you and the future.”
    Tara smiled at Emma. “Well, I want to spend at least a year travelling around Europe and Asia by myself. Just me. That way I have to become part of the culture, not just a tourist. Then I think I’d like to spend some time just living in one place — some place like Nepal or Sri Lanka maybe, just living there and doing what I can do to help the impoverished.”
    â€œI think there are programs for young people — Canada World Youth, CUSO. I’ve known of friends who had kids ...”
    â€œNo,” Tara said, surprising herself with how confident she sounded. “I don’t want to be part of some organization. I want to do it on my own. I want to see what I can do on my own.”
    â€œYou’re much braver than I ever was.”
    â€œAnd then I think I’ll go to university, probably in Europe or England, and study everything there is to know about the human mind. My father thinks that the frontier of psychiatry is in drug treatment. Anything wrong with the brain can be fixed with a drug. I think he’s wrong. I think there are better methods.”
    â€œThose are excellent dreams. I hope they all come true.” Emma was standing up now. “You’ll have to excuse me, but I think I’d better lie down for a while. I’m so glad you came by. You’ve absolutely illuminated my day.”
    Tara helped Emma lie down on her bed. She felt positively recharged by having told Emma her plans. In fact, it was the first time that she had actually put the whole brave tale into words. She knew that it was because of Emma, this amazing person who she could open up to, probably the only person on the planet she could talk to like this.
    She could see that Emma was very tired. “Sweet dreams,” she said.
    As Tara went out into the hall and back to her duties, she knew

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