For a second I thought parts of Florence had come back to life. Same sneakers, cheekbones and that skinny body bursting with life, but in jeans and a bandana.
She was staring at all the reading glasses. Only the pharmacist saw me hiding behind a corner and quietly snapping pictures. He didn't to say anything, even though he had that uncomfortable look of 'that's not allowed here I wish I were a manager and could say so." It's possible he thought we were related, both of us dressed like one another and different from everyone else in the store.
Finally she stomped just like Florence over to the counter and told him she needed glasses but couldn't figure out which one was which and how did she know which one was which and which one would be the one she could read with and although he was swamped and the only one at the counter he came out and tried to explain to her which was which and what was what.
"I can't read my newspaper!" she exclaimed, as he pointed here and there. You just knew it was the Times she was talking about.
Perhaps it was all the times strangers stopped for Florence or perhaps it was all the times I wish I had, but I found myself standing at the rack handing her different strengths and styles and explaining and commenting and sure enough she picked the pair with the least bells and whistles and the one most fitting for someone with a soul like a razor and a face that defied the contradiction of age and beauty.
MY PRIVATE CONEY presents IT WAS HER NEW YORK, the short stories that accompany the work-in-progress video and photo collection of the same name (myprivateconey.com - media link - IT WAS HER NEW YORK). The stories and the media explore the tender rubble that holds both my mother, Florence's and New York's soul as one disappears into old age and the other into gentrification. All are real observations and/or experiences with very little tall-tale telling.
Except when it makes the story better.
Please visit myprivateconey.com for additional information and sample works.