I’m waiting for you to come back from an appointment – waiting in a Starbucks that didn’t used to exist. The Gap is now a Chase. The Chinese is now a Japanese. Duane Reade takes up half the block. But the orange brick building remains at 76th and Columbus, just across from where I’m sitting now, the third floor windows dark and mysterious.
This is where we lived from when I was pregnant to when you were five years old.
Is there still a plastic play kitchen, a white fairy tutu, a silver sword for fighting dragons? You were such a strong little fighter. Still are. Had to have your face painted every day, to become something new.
I’m sitting on the footprint of a flower boutique where a chocolate lab with a funny name, Raisin, seemed always to be waiting for you to come pet him.
Here is the sidewalk where we walked, you on my shoulders, your grandmpa beside me with a cast on his leg.
I remember the coarse brown bread I liked, serving it to young mothers who came to visit.
The bed Gil and I shared, in the dark little back room covered with a blanket of Italian wool with black and white stripes. In the living room, side-by-side writing desks.
A green stone table left behind by the previous occupants that had to be washed with red wine, we were told. Strange gold walls.
The faded couch and rough wood coffee table where you took your first steps, holding on for support. You walked on your tiptoes. Still walk on your tiptoes.
I take a sip of milky coffee. You’re coming in the door, smiling. The snow blows in with you.
Who lives there now, on the third floor? Has any of the magic remained?