The labyrinth she worked in had just broken its decade-long anonymity with a giant plastic sign added to the side of the building. The sign looked just like the banner that appeared on her computer screen everyday – flat, tacked-on to real life. It could just fall off. The beautiful old bank was now a luxury drug store where you could get your sushi and Plan-B all in one place.
If she cut across Greenwich Ave the trip from West to East wasn’t too bad. She passed the apartment Mateo rented for a summer in 2008 and wondered if her mother’s tennis racquet was still there.
Glass buildings that resembled paper-doll cutouts hovered awkwardly between shedding trees and brownstone steps. She stopped in front of her old nursery school to unstuck some gum from her shoe. The block she grew up on still looked like her childhood photographs. The new buildings reminded her of Pixar images superimposed on a vintage picture. At least they had natural light.
She and Mateo had used those Bleecker Street swings as a meeting spot. Summer of nineteen. She was returning from a family vacation. They couldn’t wait to see each other. He was mad that she had abandoned him in this strange city for two whole weeks. Once they saw each other he couldn’t stay angry. Her freedom at the time was contagious.
The couple shared a perfect pot pie. Handmade tissue-ghosts hung on the walls. “I used to make those when I was a kid! I need your phone!” She tried to capture the nostalgia she felt for her childhood in iPhone filters.
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