Location: Key West, Florida
I heard a loud crash as I pulled the blanket off of my bed.
Oh shit, I thought, silently wincing. I’d just spent my first night in Key West. My friend and I were staying at a youth hostel, in rooms that vaguely reminded me of my early college days — four bunk beds, a shared bathroom, people having conversations outside at all hours of the night.
I was on the top bunk, which was both cool and incredibly inconvenient. There were guardrails that stretched all around the bed and curtains that could be pulled closed for more privacy, but there was a gap about six inches wide between my bed and the actual wall. All of my stuff had to go on the bed; there was nowhere else to put it. The gap meant that I had to be extra careful, or it would fall to the hard ground below.
Miraculously, I’d managed to go the whole night without dropping a single thing. In the corner was my backpack, which contained my laptop, journal, and other work things; my phone, my clothes for the next day, my toiletries, and a cookie cake I had bought en route as an irresponsible vacation snack. However, some stuff must have gotten tangled up with my too-large-for-the-twin-sized-bed blankets overnight, hence the crash.
I hoped that it wasn’t my phone. I’d put a protective case on it, but top bunk to ground is a long way to fall, and I really wasn’t feeling another cracked screen. Fortunately, it was still in its spot when I felt around for it. All my other stuff seemed to be there, too.
So what could have fallen?
I considered my options. I was sharing the room with two other people, both of whom were currently sleeping. The sun had barely risen; there wasn’t much light inside and I could barely see.
I silently descended from my bunk. If I turned on the lights, I risked waking them up and pissing them off … but I needed to find out what had caused the crash.
Please don’t hate me, I silently prayed as I switched on my phone’s flashlight and shone it onto the bottom bunk. The person who slept there had pulled their bed-curtains closed the minute I’d walked into the room last night, indicating that they wanted maximum privacy. It was just my luck to have something fall into their vicinity.
Fortunately, there was nothing on the ground near the area, or in the crack between the bed and the floor…
… and then I looked on the bed.
The cookie-cake platter, which was made up of a top and bottom part, had somehow missed the crack entirely and had fallen squarely on the bed. The bottom part laid face-down. Slices of cookie cake were scattered haphazardly on the covers, along with crumbs and various bits of frosting.
Under the now-semi-ruined covers, the person lay sleeping.
Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck fuck my clumsy-ass morning self and this stupid crack fuck!
Slowly and as subtly as I could, I gathered up the platter and put the remaining cake slices on it, then started picking up the crumbs and frosting. Since I was still holding my phone-flashlight, I had to do all of this with one hand.
Damn that crack in the wall.
There was so much cake debris on the bed that I couldn’t pick up all of it in time. The person in the bed stirred, woken up by my frantic activity at their feet.
They took one look at the colorful crime scene, the bright flashlight in my hand, my guilty face, and the time — barely 6 AM — and sent me a glower that put all the bitchfaces in the world to shame.
“I am so sorry,” I whisper-yelled as I dusted the remaining debris into the cake platter.
They simply groaned in response and fell back into bed.
Not gonna lie, I was a little scared to go back into my room the rest of the day and made it a point to stay out extra long. Fortunately, when I went to sleep the following night, that person had checked out without trashing my bed or leaving any nasty notes.
A lesson learned about staying in hostels with bunk beds, especially when sleeping on the top bunk: THERE WILL MOST LIKELY BE A CRACK. Don’t bring all the stuff in with me when I have limited space. Look for a communal food-storing area when you check in, even if it’s super late and all you want to do is pass out. And, for the love of God, don’t yank blankets so quickly when they may be tangled up with other items.
I laugh about this incident now, but damn, was it a close call when it was happening! ♚
Note: This article is part of my January 2019 One Month Project, where I will be traveling around coastal Florida and publishing an essay a day about my experiences there. I’m excited to bring you along on this adventure!