On the street

I’m out walking with the baby, she is everyone’s opening line. Rastaman walks up beside us, “Happy Mother’s Day,” he says. His voice is beautiful, the precision of his consonants against the long, round vowels. I thank him, and then, as if it were the most natural turn, he asks, “You read this book Million Shades of Blue, or Grey, whatever it is?”

“I’ve heard about it.” I’m lying. I read some of it over a shoulder on the subway. “I think it’s sort of racy, isn’t it?” I was about to say “dirty,” and thought better of it. That’s a different conversation.

“Racy, is that what it is? Okay then.” And I don’t know whether that interests him, or closes the case.

Rastaman wishes us well and lights out for the corner, we are ambling, me and the baby. Then he turns around again.

“Where would I find a book like this? Around here. If I wanted to read it.”

I point him toward the bookstore, but he doesn’t go that way.

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