The Writing Life

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Has she seen him before?

He examined the address, then scrutinized her.

Angelina’s cheeks warmed. “You will come?” She picked up her purse and gloves.

He made her his little bow and waited while she hurried off.

Angelina took the Bridge Street cable car in the direction of Georgetown. Something about him touched her deeply, something that plucked at a memory. She was in Pennsylvania Station, New York City, twenty-three years ago. It was October 1898, and Angelina was waiting with her sisters. She was uncomfortably warm in the thick cotton dress worn on the long journey from Italia. She gazed around the station, bewildered by the crowds of people coming in and out. She had never seen so many before, they reminded her of ants crawling into and out of the anthills back home on the farm. Before she had time to think, a train arrived. Louisa took her by the hand and led her into the carriage, while Josephina asked the porter to help her with their luggage. The train puffed out of New York, and she fell asleep. She awoke to the sounds of her sisters’ voices, heard the word Papa, and sat up.

Dov’è Papa? Where is Papa?”

The memory faded. Try as she might, she could remember nothing more. The cable car clanged, jerking her out of her reverie. It was about to cross the bridge into Georgetown. Angelina hurriedly gathered her purse and gloves; the next stop was hers.

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