The next day, Kate woke up to a loud scraping outside her room window. She hoped it was a snow plow finally clearing the parking lot. She slid out of bed and opened her curtains. Sunshine radiated off the snow, causing a sharp glare. Hope surged in Kate at the sight of the plow moving great mounds of snow away from the parked cars. Maybe they could finish their journey today.
Kate quickly got dressed, excited at the prospect of getting out of the hotel. Then she knocked on the connecting door to see if Spencer was up. He answered, “Come in.”
“Good morning. I hear hopeful sounds outside in the parking lot.” Spencer leaned on the headboard, watching the news. Kate noticed a Bible on the bed beside Spencer where he sat with his legs stretched out. She didn’t see him in jeans often, but they looked good on him, with the dark blue knit shirt he wore. Now that she thought about it, she rarely considered what Spencer wore or how he looked. Why was she noticing that now?
“That’s great. I’ve been watching the news to see if we can travel north. Looks like things are a go from here to there.”
“Oh, good. Should we have breakfast and head out?”
“Sounds like a plan.”
After they ate, they walked back to the room and packed. Kate was glad the sun shone, already melting some snow from what she saw through the lobby windows. Spencer loaded the cart with their baggage and pushed it outside to the parking lot with Kate right behind him. She nearly ran into him when he stopped at his car. Or rather where the car should be.
Now puzzled, Kate and Spencer left the cart near the front door and walked around the parking lot without finding his Honda anywhere.
“Well this is interesting. Where in the world is your car?”
Spencer frowned. “Didn’t I park it there when I got back from the store the other night?” He pointed to an empty parking space to the left of a side entrance door.
“I’m not sure, since it was dark. But it’s got to be here somewhere.”
“I cannot believe this.” Spencer threw up his arms as if to say, ‘what now?’
Kate followed behind Spencer with the cart back inside to the front desk. “Excuse me, I’m looking for my Honda that was parked out there. Any idea what might have happened to it?”
The clerk behind the desk stared at Spencer like he had spoken in Swahili. “Sir?”
“I parked my car out there the night of the blizzard and now it’s gone.” Spencer stared the young guy down. “I’d really like to know where it is. Now.” Spencer thumped the counter with his pointer finger for emphasis.
“Uh, uh…just a moment, please.” Randy, according to his name tag, disappeared into a small office behind the reception desk.
“What on earth?” Kate asked. Exasperated, she leaned on the counter.
Spencer glanced at Kate, agitation across his face. “I have no idea, but now I’m ticked.” He leaned his elbows on the counter and wasn’t moving until he found out what happened to his car.
Kate shook her head in disbelief. Where on earth could his car be? And how could it go missing in the middle of a blizzard of all things? Kate removed their belongings from the cart to free it up for someone who had a better use for it. Then she rolled their bags over to a club chair in the small lobby where she plopped down in utter frustration. She leaned her head on her hands, not knowing what to do.
A minute later, a manager came out to the desk and spoke with Spencer. Kate heard their voices, but not what they said. Then she heard Spencer say in a raised voice, “You bet you are and then there will be some compensation for my troubles. I’m on a very important trip and have to get to northwest Iowa as soon as possible. We have people counting on us.” Spencer stood his full height and ticked off items on his fingers, though Kate could no longer hear him. She had never seen Spencer act this way, but it made her feel good that he was in her corner. Naturally, he had a major stake in the situation as the car owner.
This was the first time in a long time that Kate needed someone to come to her aid as she thought about their latest trouble. Normally, she was in control as much as possible and took care of herself. But it was Spencer’s car and she was relieved he had to deal with it, because what little energy she had left waned along with her sanity. Her emotions were stretching too thin in several directions, leaving her exhausted.
Until next time,