About My Mom

A long short story


Part 1

I came out of the subway on Union Square; it had just stopped raining. The asphalt was wet with reflections in puddles of . . . No, I will not lie, I did not see what those puddles reflected. It could’ve been the sky filled with floating, rippling clouds and unlit streetlights with street vendor carts from the farmer’s market. Perhaps some bearded farmer from Pennsylvania flashed there selling honey in round bottles, or some rosy-cheeked sturdy woman from upstate could be seen there displaying apples, onions, potatoes, and fresh bread from her cart. Or there may have been vendors of fish, juice, maple syrup, homemade apple wine—anyone and anything could have appeared in the lenses of those puddles on Union Square when I came out of the subway Friday morning.

The place where I work is located near the train station on 11th Street. There my patients await me in the outpatient clinic. They are angry, exhausted, ill with various psychiatric disorders. Each of them needs something from me.

Within walking distance from the station, on the opposite side from the clinic, there is a book store, Barnes and Noble. Someone waits for me there on the third floor where I order coffee with croissants.

At the end of the work week on Friday night, I often head to that bookstore. This store with its ubiquitous bookshelves and crawling escalators rising up to the ceiling gives me the impression of some deadly maze, easy to enter but difficult, almost impossible, to exit. One row of book shelves leads to the next; ancient time flows into the Middle Ages and then the Enlightenment, where atheism replaces faith, and upon reaching the modern era everything starts to move in the opposite direction, down the same escalators from floor to floor.