The smell is spring chill but rich with gyro cart: spicy, savory, sizzled, early in the cart’s lunch run, hunger-inducing, not overpowering. We’re under scaffolding, a wet snow beginning on 1st Avenue and 23rd St. Casual lunch time walkers have umbrellas, they’re busy on their way but not rough or rude. Iggy hangs close to the building, skimming what looks like pingpong netting at the base of the scaffold. He pauses to squirt a bit and reluctantly moves onward. I sort of have to drag him, he’s ‘gaming me’ as Carol has warned he would, he does this with new people trying to walk him. But his soulful eyes betray confusion and sadness. What has happened? Where is she? Meredith is gone now and everything is different.
We continue on 23rd heading west under the scaffold, its an underground city and everyone loves a terrier. Their love is shown gently, glancingly, three hooded white guys out of a Ben Affleck Boston movie sideways grin, a voice interrupts my reverie: “Buddy, what time you got?” I look questioningly, a hustle maybe. “Yeah,” he says, “please.” He’s old, I get my phone, “1:30 sharp”, he walks away, late, early, not rude, not polite, New York. We pass the old folks pharmacy, the window full of devices: sitz bath, shin splints, walkers, prosthetics, supplements. Carol has commented that with Meredith gone, this pharmacy may have to let someone go, she was one of the best customers.
But Iggy won’t go for me. I spy one of those caged trees, a three foot square worn green-painted iron cage around a small island of dirt. He should find this place good enough, shouldn’t he? A few squirts and then, he lies down. I could drag him but follow Carol’s instruction, “flip him over and say ‘Iggy, let’s go!’” I try it, he half complies and we begin to head back. The doorman greets me warmly, I know him, or does he confuse me with Todd who was here more often than me. The maintenance man greets Iggy and asks “How’s mami?” Does he mean Meredith? Does he know? I ask him, he says “yeah” sadly, he knows. And he perks up, if mami needs anything at all, tell her Pablo is here. “Me llamo Pablo” I declare as the elevator door closes. These people love Carol and Meredith and Iggy. It’s a neighborhood inside this building.