The Dahlberg Repercussions
The woman on the subway looked like my mother so I sat down next to her and said you look like my mother. I said does it seem like that to you, that you are someone who looks like my mother, that I look like someone who could be your son, if circumstances were different, that is, if you were old enough to be my mother or I were young enough to be your son. I said don’t misunderstand me. I said you look like how my mother used to look, not how she looks now, although my mother still looks good and I didn’t mean to imply otherwise and so this is what I told her. I said my mother is a good-looking woman and that bodes well for all of us. I’m talking about genes now more than anything else. I’m not sure what the other people in the subway car were doing at this point because I was talking to the woman who looked like my mother and I don’t think anyone can blame me. The truth is I haven’t seen my own mother in twenty-seven years because she won’t have anything more to do with me, but that’s not what I’m talking about so it shouldn’t have been brought it up. When I said that my mother looks good now it’s only speculation, because it’s true, I don’t know what my mother looks like now although I assume she looks good because she was always a good-looking woman. I remember her own mother, my grandmother that is, and she kept her looks well into her seventies, I think. This is when the woman who looked like my mother said, excuse me, sir, and I admonished her for being so formal. I said how dare you treat me this way, someone that could be your son if circumstances were different, someone who has confided in you like this, and then I said I was only kidding. I thought it would be funny to treat this woman like she was indeed my mother even though I knew she wasn’t and never could be. This is when the woman who looked like my mother got up from the bench and walked over to the doors. From where I stood, because I got up to follow her, the woman who looked like my mother looked like a flagpole in an open field, like she couldn’t be toppled, like she was entirely unmovable, and that she would never acknowledge that she was someone who looked like my mother or that I was someone that could be her son.
Robert Lopez is the author of two novels, Part of the World and Kamby Bolongo Mean River, and two story collections, Asunder and Good People, published by Bellevue Literary Press in January, 2016.