A Storyby Susan Minot
Riding back from her studio, Ivy thought, I’ll just stop for a minute.
She didn’t have the time, but already they’d been here a month and she’d not gone. The sitter had to leave at five-thirty, there was supper to make, but it was pathetic she’d not checked out what was being broadcast all over the world. At an earlier time in her life she would have been here—righteous, smoking cigarettes, stubbornly dug in. She had the time then to be a volunteer, stuffing envelopes for Oxfam, canvassing for the Vietnam vet running for office.
She found a parking sign, propped her bike wheel with a boot, and wound the chain around the hole-studded signpost. She fiddled with the padlock till the shackle clicked.
She stood. Wind barreled down the skyscrapers, tilting in over the small patch of park. A canopy of fluttering orange leaves hovered over polished marble slabs descending in steps. A bank of lumpy sleeping bags and blankets compressed like trash was covered with blue plastic patchwork. The park itself looked crisp and new, smaller than she’d pictured, and less ramshackle.
Hair blew across her face. She felt for her hair elastic. Gone. Probably on the studio floor, stuck in glue. That was annoying. She always kept her hair tied back. Tucking loose strands into her jacket collar, she crossed the street, to pace the perimeter first.