Fiction | March 01, 1988

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We enter a cramped lobby, Lucy Banks, a nurse, ahead of me.  The lobby’s floor is a jigsaw of small, black and white ceramic tiles, some broken, others missing altogether.  In a row of mailboxes on one wall the name “Ramirez” is crudely scratched into the metal of the box labeled 3B.

“It’s cold in here,” I say.  The snow that drops from our shoes isn’t melting.

“They don’t heat lobbies in this part of town, John,” Lucy says.

“They save it for upstairs.  It’s 3B, let’s go.”

I’m glad Lucy’s with me.  She’s in her forties, twice my age, and I trust her experience.  She may be forthright in what she says, but I know she’ll never embarrass me in front of a mother.

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