Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Mildred is reading an article about this personality defect in a Weekly Medical magazine. She is surprised to find how well the list of signs fits her husband. Mildred’s face twists into a scowl, she was beginning to understand. Disgusted by the thought of her husband sitting next to her in such a small space, she shifts uncomfortably in her seat and continues to read the magazine.
“This time it was some young blonde, with a face painted up like a half-priced circus clown,” Mildred’s stomach churned with rage at the memory of her husbands, lipstick-stained briefs on the floor. “What sort of fool am I?”
Raymond, ignoring Mildred, turns the radio up tapping the steering wheel, and singing along to Queen’s, Bohemian Rhapsody.
Annoyed, Mildred puts the magazine down in her lap. She looks out the window as Raymond pulls into the parking lot at a motel in Los Angeles, CA. The motel sign read: “Motel California”, Mildred rolls her eyes at the sight of the sign. The motel was surprisingly run-down to be located in such a beautifully robust area. Mildred looks over at Raymond waiting for an explanation.
“Is this your idea of an adventure?” Mildred asks.
Raymond gets out of the car and walks to the passenger side. He smiles like a Chimpanzee. The smile possesses no humor nor happiness. He opens the door for Mildred, and she slips out of the car, not meeting his eyes as he closes the door behind her.
“I know it doesn’t look like much, but it’s a wonderful place, the rooms are stunning, and the pool is wonderful!” Raymond said.
“Raymond, what are we doing here?” Mildred asked, the disgust on her face evident, as she stands next to him.
“Well, I just wanted to do something nice for you, tomorrow we will hit the city. I’ll buy you a new dress and shoes to match, but only if you’re a good girl,” Raymond said, as he reaches down to kiss her.
Mildred dodges his kiss, “If I’m a good girl, really Raymond?”
“Oh, come on, it was just a joke. Don’t be so serious all the time, you will wrinkle that pretty face,” Raymond said, with another false smile.
The room is not at all impressive. The carpet and walls are stained with nicotine. The blankets on each bed are dirt-brown, and the whole room smells of dust, and mold. A small rabbit-ear TV sits atop a yellow banister across from the beds. Mildred purses her lips.
Raymond notices Mildred’s contempt, “we can get another room if you wish darling,” he said.
“No thanks, this is fine,” Mildred said, her face still twisted in disgust.
“Well, just wait until tomorrow, I promise it will be worth it!” Raymond said.
“Yeah, you promise, you’ve promised many things before now. Ten years since we married, and you still make promises you never intend to keep,” Mildred said.
“Come now dear, do you really want to do this right now?” Raymond said.
“Do you even remember your previous promises to me Raymond? Do you remember the life in Italy you promised me? Do you remember the yard full of kids, the three-story house? Better yet, do you remember the promise we made on our wedding day? we promised we would stay with each other in sickness and in health, we promised each other loyalty,” Mildred said.
“I thought we had moved past this Mildred, I told you it was moment of weakness nothing more, you will always be the love of my life,” Raymond said.
“The love of your life? If I was the love of your life you wouldn’t have done this to me again,” Mildred said, her voice beginning to crack with emotion.
“Darling, why not come join me out on the balcony?” Raymond asked.
“Balcony? I don’t care about a balcony. I don’t care about anything anymore--” she catches a gleam of the sunset as she looks through the sliding glass door, “just for a moment.”
Mildred steps out on the balcony to see Los Angeles spread out before her. Mildred is taken aback by the view. The sun is setting over the Hollywood hills, a canvas of pink and orange touches the top of the hill. The city lights have just begun to glow below them. Neon lights stretched out as far as the eye can see, as young people walk along the streets laughing and talking. Below their feet sat an elderly man and women, they smiled and held each other as they watched the sun set. The look on their faces is reminiscent of High School sweetheart prom photos. For a brief moment, Mildred’s face relaxes into a smile, as she forgets the dingy motel room, the stench of the mold, and even Raymond.
Seeing Mildred’s smile, Raymond motioned for her to come sit next to him. “It’s beautiful isn’t it?” Raymond asked.
“Yes, it is,” Mildred said.
Raymond pulled a cigar from the pocket of his navy-blue suit, and lights it. He walks back into the room to get a bottle of champagne and two glasses.
“For as much as you spent on that bottle, we could have gotten a better hotel,” Mildred said.
“Perhaps, but then we wouldn’t have champagne,” Raymond said.
“It’s pretty nice out here, maybe I’ll just sleep on the balcony tonight,” Mildred said.
“Just like back in our college days huh? Do you remember me having to carry you up to your dorm?” Raymond said, trying to change the topic.
“I don’t want to reminisce with you Raymond, I am tired of doing this with you,” Mildred said, looking down at the elderly couple below them.
“Look Dear, this won’t ever happen again, I promise, will you please just give me one more chance?” Raymond asks.
“I have given you too many chances Raymond. I don’t want your pity gifts and I don’t want your adventure’s, we are done,” Mildred responds.
“Oh really? And just how do you plan on leaving from here huh? You are nothing without me. Now please, let’s just end this and start over from scratch Dear,” Raymond said.
Mildred grabs the cup of champagne from Raymond’s hand. She takes a long drink and finishes it.
“I have been cheating on you with your father,” Mildred says with a smile, “He’s waiting for me outside.”