Arriving at our hotel after a seven hour flight across the Atlantic, a forty-five minute cab drive from Copenhagen (one that I am convinced is a misguided placement of our lives in the hands of a maniac, but I am too tired to care), I stand sleepily before the front desk clerk wondering if we have a room waiting, or if we will have to wait for a room. It is only 8:45 in the morning after all. But for me, it is closer to 3 AM. We are given a key, and my heart sinks a little. It’s not the one they’ve been putting us in. It’s not “our room”, the one with the claw foot bathtub. I figure they forgot about us. It has been six months since we’ve been here, and this guy at the desk was a new face. We toppled two weeks worth of luggage out of the elevator on the third floor and made our way to the end of the hall. As I placed the key in, I started to get excited. This was in the same location as our favorite room on the second floor. Maybe it was the same kind of room! But when the door opened, it was immediately evident this was not our old room. No, this room had a living room, a dining table, a huge bathroom with a claw foot tub, a giant candelabra, an extra bathroom for the toilet, a bedroom with a king sized bed, an armoire or two, and two televisions! Tired as I was, I started jumping up and down and squealing.
“What is going on? Did they make a mistake? This is amazing!” Just as I was digging for my camera, the guy from downstairs was at the door with an ironing board.
“This room is beautiful!” I told him. “Are you sure it is ours?”
He smiled and explained that it is the HC Anderson room. Since Hans Christian Anderson used to stay here, this room is dedicated to him. I was speechless. I had intended to use this trip for my writing. I was looking forward to being stuck in a hotel room with few distractions. Now I was awe struck. What mysterious wind of grace, what magical dust has lighted upon me that I would receive such favor? So thick that I feel surrounded by the company of angels and writers I know so little about. I find a book in one of the many cabinets here. It is mostly in Danish, but I stumble upon a little bit of English writing only to discover it is a letter written to Mr. Anderson from Charles Dickens extending an invite to spend the summer with him in Kent. Dickens also writes:
I am very much interested in what you tell me of your new Novel, and you may be very sure that it will have no more attentive and earnest reader than it will find in me. I am impatient for it’s publication.
I skim these pages for more words in English. I feel like the room has evaporated and all there is in the world are these snippets of letters exchanged by authors from another time, another dimension. Even now I cannot give this poor body rest. No matter that it has traveled half way across the world in twelve hours. No mind the bloodshot eyes, or the bobbing head. I simply must pen something of this very moment. The room is too thick with chuckling ghosts for me to retire.