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A blurred line of headlights created a tunnel in the mist as we filtered off the Hutchinson River Parkway South at Boston Post Rd, toward towards Co-op City, a massive development of 35 monolithic, Le Corbusier-styled, somber, authoritarian-red brick high-rise apartments and 236 townhouses, lit at ground level by a worn carpet of orange lights.

Every townhouse except ours was split into two apartments, a one-bedroom with a small yard on ground level, and a three-bedroom duplex on the second and third floors with a terrace on the second floor.

We had the entire townhouse to ourselves and I had never asked why, or how we’d jumped a waiting list that can stretch into future lifetimes. We slid off the “Hutch” and onto the service road traveling north and turned into Erskine Place where streetlights flickered off her Tiffany ring and tumbled around the cab goading me to pry. 

“Husband, ex-husband, boyfriend, ex-boyfriend, or a treat from a passing fancy?” I snarled at the ring, taking offense.

She found her outrage quietly, “Now you know me enough to call me a whore?”

“We all make mistakes when we get excited. I thought that he might be one of yours.” 

“It was a gift from Papi.” 

“The fruit of a poisonous tree! From the depths of a poisonous forest, I suppose?” I snapped back as we turned left onto De Reimer Avenue and cozied up to the right curb at 2212.

“I didn’t ask where it came from, Degas. Some things are so extraordinary that you just say gracias al Señor.” 

The night slapped me a second time as I opened my door into a gusting wind and walked around the cab to open hers. I rounded up the $30 fare to $50 on account of Jay’s slick turn to lose the X5 and led Monica up the garden path to Mami’s front door. 


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