After a week of absence, mother calls me from JFK at 7 PM Wednesday. "Put on something Chanel" she says, "we're going out". I'm tired but my curiosity slowly gets the best of me, I start dressing up to go meet her outside a Starbucks on Park Avenue near Waldorf Astoria. She takes a quick and professional glance at my outfit, smiles approvingly and starts digging around in her (adorable) little Prada snakeskin purse. "Here, put on some lipstick".
We enter into the lobby of a tall brick building a few blocks up on Park, the doorman exchanges pleasantries with mother as if they've known each other for years.
The apartment is on the 24th floor and looks like it was taken from a movie scene with its carefully polished dark wooden floors, floral wall tapestry and colorful turn-of-the-century paintings. If I didn't know better I'd think we were in Paris. Mother dissolves into the collection of chic ladies in their early forties, most of them hanging on the arms of slightly older men wearing dark tailored suits and patent leather shoes, a glass of something old and expensive in every free hand.
I try to hide myself in a corner but soon notice a woman dressed from head to toe in black, one of the few sitting alone by the bar. She looks at me in a way that suggests more than a shallow interest, I'm unintentionally drawn to her like a moth to the light. "Do you know me?" I ask. "No" she says, "but I knew your father". She scans the room fleetingly, for a second I imagine detecting a little spark of contempt in her eyes. She comes back to me, tilts her head to the side and smiles crookedly. "We all did".