4

A woman struggles to pick up a baby stroller at the top of a stairwell leading down to a subway station in New York City. She is wearing a large purse — almost more like a duffel bag — slung over her shoulder and her baby is crying.

She stands precariously, putting the weight of the stroller on her thighs while her bag swings behind her, pulling her backwards. People frown as they squeeze past her on their way up out onto the street. It’s lunchtime and the sidewalk is crowded. The stairwell is crowded.

The woman curses herself. Why didn’t she use the Baby Bjorn? Why did she bring such a heavy bag with her? Why did she have a kid?

Tears are brimming in her eyes when a tall man in a baseball cap stops two steps from the top of the stairs. “Here,” he says, taking the rubber strap between the front wheels of the stroller in his hands. “Ready?” he says.

The woman nods and they carry the child down the stairs together.

By the time they reach the bottom and set the stroller down, the woman is smiling a very wide smile, on the verge of the laughter.

“All right?” says the man.

“Yes thank you so much,” says the woman. And then, giggling, “Your hat…”

The man furrows his brow, he does not remember which one he chose to put on this morning. He takes the cap off and turns the brim so he can read it.

In bright red, yellow and green letters it say, “Don’t Ask Me 4 Shit.”

(Previously.)

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