“Is that you? It can’t be!” exclaimed the young woman.
“In the flesh. What are you doing here?”
“I work here. What a surprise…Well, it’s been quite a while since we’ve seen each other, hasn’t it?”
“At least 10 years, I guess, since you left for Chicago.”
“Yes,” smiled Lorna. “And you haven’t changed at all. That’s the truth.”
“I believe it,” David smoothed his thin hair. “By the way, you haven’t changed at all either,” he lied in response.
“Oh, no, no, no. I’ve gotten fat and old.”
“So, you work here. What do you do? Feed ravenous children from Bangladesh? Or are you sleeping with the General Secretary?”
“To sleep with the General Secretary, you need to be well connected, and I don’t have those kinds of connections yet. But I think that could change. It’s only a matter of time. I have been working in a UN department dealing with ecological concerns. I got the position two years ago, before that I lived in Chicago, as you know, and completed a special two-year program there.”
“And where’s your mother now? How is she doing?” asked David.
An indistinct picture of an older woman sitting at a table came into his mind. A quiet woman, dressed in something dark and plain, herself also plain; David couldn’t even recall her face. By the way, he saw her only once and not for long—about 20 minutes—when Lorna brought him for the first and only time to her apartment in Queens, before going to the movies, in order to change her shoes.
“Mom is doing well, thanks for asking.”
She looked into his eyes, smiled, and despite all the imposing posters on the walls, the marble staircases, the consulate officers and guards, he suddenly saw the 25-year-old Lorna, —there was still something of the teenager in her face and body.