He brought in his shirt pocket the last photograph he’d taken of his son, an Instamatic snapshot: the carousel in the Park, wind in the boy’s hair, chocolate ice cream staining his smile, a pair of impossibly tiny blue jeans, striped socks, and a Yale sweatshirt snug across his chest. Jonathan had stood waiting in the grass for Marc to come around. The December day was warm, winter with a fever. Marc smiled, gripped tight the reins of his white plastic horse. This was years ago. Then, the visits were easy. Jonathan took the picture with him in case Marc wanted to see proof, evidence of a time when they had been able to maintain peace. Jonathan was not above superstition. His boy was a teenager now. They were separated by three miles, one river, one bridge, and two train transfers. The distance, he thought often, was far too great.
He stood on the street below the apartment, his head to the sky; he tried to find the 18th story, where Marc lived with his mother. Each window looked the same from the ground: the slotted vent of an air conditioner, ivy trained to the brick, small square glass panes in a grid. For nearly 15 years, Julia had lived on this block, with its old gingko trees, its gas lanterns, and its wide sidewalks. Steps away, in Central Park, children skated to Tchaikovsky on Wollman Rink, and through the trees he could hear the violins and the piano and the cymbals. This was, in every way, a better place than where he lived.