The Passed Note Issue 4 June 2017 - Page 18

So we stayed on the train and rode the eighty or so blocks uptown to the institutional home where my mom had lived for the past ten years. The home is a drab building, particularly in Hamilton Heights. You’ve got all these pretty old-fashioned five-story brownstone townhouses, and then the home is this heinous beige tower that’s, like, twenty stories taller than everything around it.

We walked up the sidewalk past the skinny border rows of parched grass, the heat practically cooking our feet through our sandals. The frigid lobby was a welcome relief.

Eugenia was there, standing by the security guard’s desk. She was jotting notes with a pen attached to her clipboard by a string of multi-colored rubber bands. She had on her pink scrubs, but she’d changed her hair from the last time we were there. She was rocking a swirl of tight cornrows. She’s from Trinidad and Tobago (she calls it “Trini”), and she’s the head nurse from my mom’s wing of the home. She’s infinitely patient with my mom, which means a lot when you consider that my mom introduces herself to Eugenia ten times a day.

Eugenia looked up and spotted us. She smiled broadly and waved us over. I went over and gave her a bear hug.

“Hey, Stephanie,” she said. She has this fantastic Caribbean lilt. “Mmm, you smell good, like salt and sunscreen. Which beach you been at?”

“Brighton,” Tim replied.

“You gotta get out of this heat, though, am I right?”

“How’ve you been?” Nick asked.

“I’ve been good, or good enough. Busy, but that’s life. It’s been a while since I’ve seen you three around. And the little one. How is Katie?”