“…so when you cry, the tears just get pushed around.”
“We were a mess…”
“…that’s probably why our lunch was comped.”
With Mom and me on either side of him at the table, Dad’s head swerved left, right, and back again. His wife and his daughter, talking about the lunch weeks earlier, at the same restaurant table, when they reluctantly considered the possibility of the future without him.
“But you’re here with us now.”
“We’re so happy.”
During our exchange, I watched hints of emotion flicker across Dad’s face. He seemed to enjoy being the center of our small family’s attention. But maybe I saw a trace of guilt too. Maybe. For making us worry? I don’t know.
My mother’s first breath after crossing the Williamsburg Bridge into Brooklyn today was a sigh. She wishes I lived in Manhattan, I know. She tells me every chance she gets.
As Mom drove north on Havemeyer toward my apartment, I saw Williamsburg through her eyes: graffiti, old unpretty buildings, men with weird facial hair weaving in and out of traffic on bikes, more graffiti. I get it. She doesn’t see what I see and I have stopped trying to persuade her of my neighborhood’s charms.
Mom’s favorite past apartment of mine was probably the one at 72nd and 3rd on the Upper East Side where I lived starting when I was 23 years old. Now she would gladly accept even the Cornelia Street walk-up in Greenwich Village that I called home on September 11. In spite of my current place being modern and comfortable, in Mom’s eyes, everything is better in Manhattan. Continue reading →