I looked for the room I had stayed in years ago on the photo gallery of the oldest hotel in Odessa that was still standing.
“It hasn’t been destroyed yet,” I called out to my co-writer/ husband.
“What if we did a crazy thing and booked a room?” His eyes danced.
“Are you kidding?” I’m not sure if my face registered terror or interest probably a combination of both.
“You realize we are not reporters, right?”
“Yeah, I know but this is the story of a lifetime and what better way to test your theory.”
“We are writing about several old hotels that are less likely to be wiped off the map.”
I noticed he had already opened Travelocity. I wish I had never voiced my theory that there was a portal that may be located at a hotel in Ukraine. It was a romantic notion that people passed through a passageway at a hotel curiously named The Passage.
“We are Crazy!!!” I shouted.
“Come on get out your Ukrainian dictionary and some serviceable shoes and let’s go.” His finger was paused over the order button.
“I guess were going to a potential war zone.” I started writing down what I would need including a long list of medical supplies.
We told very few people about our plans. We told his brothers thinking they always had our backs. We told our sons because we thought …
“That’s a real dumb idea mom.” Our youngest contended. “Dad what are you thinking?
“There could be some serious stuff before too long.” Our oldest pounded his fist.
“Keep watch over things here. Call your grandmother every few weeks and your sisters. Everything will be fine…”
Odessa was cold in December so we took what we had in winter clothing.
“Your clothes are not warm enough for Dmitri’s.” My husband pointed to a winter coat in the window of a boutique beneath our hotel.
As I was stirring my tea, I let myself go for a moment of reflection. The Passage was unique and beautiful. Built in the 1890s, it had dozens of frieze type sculptures that had survived wars and uprisings. The name reflected an actual passage that was built into the structure. Lovely shops and cafes were on a cobbled passageway that had a peaked roof made of glass.
“I wonder who has looked over this balconies before us?”
“You know the Russians have turned off the heat before in Ukraine. I just don’t want you to freeze.” My husband pulled me off the balcony and out of my reverie.
“I really need some lined boots with a good sole.” I scrunched my forehead when I saw the price of the coat. “Okay, I’ll get the coat and those boots if they have my size.” Fortunately, they had boots in my size and the sales girl added a hat that would ward off serious cold.
“Gloves are also a necessary part of your wardrobe.” She waved a pair of fur lined gloves my direction. “They are soft and lovely.” I had wool gloves but realized she could use the commission.
“How are you preparing for the possibility???”
“My husband and I are sure that we are safe as we can be. What can an old city like Odessa offer to Russia?”
“I hope you are right. Please stay safe.” I said as she carefully wrapped my purchases in brown paper tied with twine.
“Brown paper burns well on a cold night.” She smiled.
Her comment caused me to buy a wool blanket as we walked back to our room.
Photo is entrance to the shops at the ground floor of the Passage Hotel Odessa Ukraine.
Thanks for stopping by Penned In Moondust by Moondustwriter for the A to Z Challenge. This (continuing) story was birthed at The Passage hotel in 2007 in Odessa Ukraine. I changed the time period to the present. I hope you feel the courage and tenacity of the Ukrainian people as this fiction unfolds.
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