Hotel Palarine

by Mara Bergman

When we’re not back till nine one night she embraces us
and leads us to dinner, Rosalina from Argentina,
who hears my accent and tells us she loves New York, who
used to visit every year, sometimes twice a year, and at nineteen
looked after a boy in a town outside Darien. Now he’s twenty-six,
lives on Twenty-something Street and she can stay there.
She wants to live in New York City, but she’s with Jorge.
She loves Jorge but Jorge loves living in Andorra
despite what he has to do: magic at the hotel pub, all those close-up
table tricks, pretending to be one of the Three Kings
on Epiphany, when every town has a parade and children
dressed as pirates throw sweets from elaborate floats.
Jorge knew someone who knew someone
who got Rosalina a job taking the drinks orders at dinner
and setting out trays of croissants for breakfast
though she doesn’t like it, never mind having only one day off
each week. She has saved a two-for-one voucher for the spa
at Calisa for when her sister visits. Rosalina and Jorge have been here
two months. She’s a qualified accountant, kept her feet
beneath a desk for seventeen years and answered to no one.
She doesn’t miss it. Yes, she’s on email.
And sí, sí, sí, on Facebook too.