Before I met up with my boyfriend, my friend Selena and I stayed in a hostel/AirBnB in Puerto Morelos, where we had our own room.
One night, the hostel owner waves me over to talk in private.
“There is a mattress here for the other girl,” she whispers, looking around covertly.
“Oh, we don’t mind sharing the bed,” I say.
“If three people are in the room, you need another mattress.”
For context, I had just been smoking la hierba with this group of travelling Chilean strippers outside so I was more susceptible to confusion and paranoia than usual.
“No, thanks. We don’t really want three people in our room,” I say, thinking she is finding a roundabout way of telling me she overbooked.
“Ok… But when you have three people, you should have another mattress. It will be more comfortable for the other person to sleep.” She’s keeping her voice down so as to not embarrass me but I have zero idea what we’re talking about.
I’m not sure why my mind goes the places it does, but I assume she thinks Selena and I are a couple who are trying to have a secret threesome, which is why she’s being awkward. Selena and I had only been hanging out with the Chileans, so I guess she assumes we’re hooking up with one of them. But why? Just because they’re strippers doesn’t mean they’re having sex with everyone they hang out with. Should I be offended on their behalf?
“Is the third person one of them?” I asked, pointing to the Chileans outside.
“Noo,” she goes. “They’re Mexican!” She exclaims this as if my question were totally idiotic. They’re not actually Mexican, but the point seemed to be that this third person was clearly not hispanic. So, continuing my train of thought, she seems to think Selena and I OBVIOUSLY wouldn’t have a threesome with a Latina. That’s racist! Now I want to defend me and Selena as a hypothetical couple. She doesn’t know us!
“Who is this other person? Are you talking about Selena?” I ask, exasperated.
“Was this person in our room?”
“Wait, you saw a random person I don’t know in our room? Did someone rob us?” Panic sets in. We’ve already been robbed? We’ve been in Mexico for like two days!
“No, no don’t worry about it,” she says, clearly not sharing my concern.
“You saw a person know one knows in our room! Why wouldn’t I be worried about it?”
“No, no. It’s fine.”
“…You didn’t see someone in our room?” I am way too high for this conversation.
“It’s just a misunderstanding, don’t worry.”
“Ok.” I decide to just forget this happened. I’m really good at living with unanswered questions.
“But if the third girl wants a mattress, they’re here.” Dammit.
I go back to the room.
“Selena!” I cry out, flying into the room. Selena’s stone-cold sober and used to my misplaced drama.
“Bad news?” Selena says. She doesn’t use rising intonation so I think she’s telling me there’s bad news.
“We’ve been robbed?!” I say.
“What? No. I’m saying you look like you have bad news.”
“Oh, yeah. The owner thinks we’re hiding a third person in here. She’s seen her in our room. Is it a thief? A…GHOST?”
Selena sighs while continuing to read her book. “I know what this is. This always happens.”
Selena goes and finds the hostel owner and asks her to watch as she slowly removes her glasses. The owner watches in amazement as Selena transforms into the third girl.