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Mary Kennan Herbert

Breakfast in a hotel dining room

Mary Kennan Herbert

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1My father and I were the only ones there on a winter Saturday.
Yet a full staff of penguins was on duty, webbed shoes muffled on thick but aging carpet, their lined faces and beaks a bit mottled.
They brought us the morning newspaper, toast, coffee, orange juice, grapefruit (a beauty) nestled on ice in a pewter tureen, an old-fashioned presentation,
with a hint of decay.
The hotel was closed shortly thereafter, for a decade, then remodeled,
reopened with new crystal, dinnerware with postmodern chic, fruit compote but no grapefruit.
I visited once again, my father long dead, he dared to die, with no message on the answering machine, no note slid under the door.
Yet, still I looked at each businessman in a well-cut suit,
searching for paternal-looking accountants who might be fathers of angry daughters,
to see if any had been sent to treat me to one last breakfast at the hotel,
so I could feel like a princess again, the sun delivered at my command,
at the ringing of a little bell, ding, matins, or the come-to-breakfast call to the threshers,
the beginning of a very nice day, doomed, stillborn with a dash of freshly ground pepper dispensed by Zeus from his well of sorrows.

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Mary Kennan Herbert, « Breakfast in a hotel dining room »Revue LISA/LISA e-journal [En ligne], Le coin des écrivains, Écrivains A à L, mis en ligne le 01 janvier 2009, consulté le 13 août 2022. URL :

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