I’m sitting in the Chelsea Restaurant on the southeast side of 23rd and Ninth. This is where my father’s cousin Raja and I used to meet. I called her Auntie Raj-Raj. Now my celestial guide. She was a crystal vision. A reiki master. A healer. A truth seeker.

Now I’m in a restaurant several years after she passed on. The sweet and low is still on the table (There was someone in the bathroom and as I walked out back to the table surprising her she quickly stuffed several pink packets in the purse).

The green ivy plants are still hanging from the ceiling lining all the windows, one over each table like natural chandeliers (I grabbed the leaf from tapping my hair and put it in my pocket it is still growing to this day after many leafy haircuts).

The host still has a Greek accent though he’s not the same man. The busses pass by both walls of windows and vain women and men check their reflections out pursing lips and brushing bangs (she would smile at my incessant energy and youth as, like any child, I would take our time for granted).

I would grab the check, she would refuse, I would insist and throw her into a cab.

Sometimes we took a bus cross town and she would pucker and twitch at people who had no common sense. There were several.

One Reuben sandwich and a coffee with milk and sugar. What is it about mother figures and pastrami?

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