Robert Lopez

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.