Wednesday, June 6, 2007

I was walking with my mother on 2nd Ave and 68th St. in Manhattan. My grandmother and a woman unknown to me walked ahead of us. It was a warm and sunny June day like the one I woke to this morning. My grandmother’s pace was slow and hesitant yet we kept the same distance between us, ten feet maybe, still close enough that we could hear her voice call to us, ‘I’m tired, I’m taking the crosstown bus.” I read my mother’s thoughts which were my own as well: We wanted to keep walking, looking in shops and end up at the street fair marked by barricades a few blocks beyond. Nana and her companion stepped onto the M66 bus, the doors shut quickly and I watched it zoom the long block to 3rd Ave. Immediately I panicked. I had missed my only chance to be with her whom I loved so much and had last seen alive in 1972. Why so absorbed in the city around me was I trailing her instead of being with her? Salt from my sudden tears were burning my cheeks, mascara dripped to my hands, the street was unbearably hot, the passing crowd an array of arms and shoulders; I leaned against the stone railing of a walk up. Stroking my hair my mother said, “You don’t really want to go”.