||"The One Time I Went Whoring"
I feared I was an object of suspicion - as if the grinning doorman, the uniformed bellhops, and the red-capped concierges could all determine in a glance that I was not a guest of the Marriott but a misdemeanor-in-waiting. Through the carpeted foyer I found a meeting area with dozens of empty black leather couches. I sat beside a clear glass coffee table, on which there lay crinkled copies of the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, and Boston Globe. After dialing Portia I picked up the Journal, only to drop it when she answered: "Is this Keith?" she asked.
"I'm in the lobby," I said. "Sorry I'm a little early."
"Are you alone?" she asked.
"I'm available now," she replied. "Come up to room 1719."
At her door I stared at 1-7-1-9. Each digit was an italicized silver figure, slender and slanted with pointed edges, affixed to the door by small screws. It was the type of font you might find on any hotel door. But for me the four digits were poignant and iconic, a quartet of symbols I knew would last in my memory because of the occasion's rarity. All these months later, I recall the diagonal slope of that 7 as clearly as the curve of Portia's spine.