It’s 2 a.m. and I am working at a hotel desk in Postojna, Slovenia. I am a college professor from Iowa and I know only halting Slovene, but should anybody need help at this hour, I have all the vocabulary I might need: ne vem and ne razumem—I don’t know and I don’t understand.

Jure, the regular desk clerk is at the train station picking up two of my students who misunderstood the schedule and ended up getting here in the middle of the night instead of yesterday afternoon with the rest of us.

Outside the plate glass window I can see buses that have brought tourists here from Germany and The Netherlands. I pray all those people stay asleep in their rooms above me.

The town’s one taxi driver doesn’t work the graveyard shift, so I convinced Jure to pick up my tardy students.

“But who will take care of the hotel?” he asked.

“I will,” I answered.

“What if somebody needs help?” he asks.

“You will be gone only a few minutes,” I answer.

He finally agrees.

We talk at about 10 p.m., after which he tells me to go up to my room and sleep. He will call me when it is time for the train to arrive and for me to take over the desk. I cannot sleep for worry. What if Kate and Jennifer aren’t on the train after all?  What if they’ve been robbed or attacked? What if, what if? Read the rest of the story here, on my Psychology Today blog.

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