Gilda Davidian

This is a picture of Virginia, my grandmother’s neighbor, on the rooftop of their apartment building. Virginia’s mother is younger than I am but I still call her “auntie.” She came to America from Syria to be married when she was 19. Virginia is her only child. In the background is a domed hospital where most of my friends were born and some of our relatives died. At one time, there was a cross on the dome but it was taken down when the hospital closed. Now the building is used as a location to shoot movies and television shows. The Egg Roll Express downstairs has an aquarium with fish in it. I watched them swim around while my sister ordered wontons to go. We shared them on the steps outside because my grandmother didn’t want us bringing other people’s food into her home. She told us so. There’s a pizza place next to the Egg Roll Express with arcade games inside. I watched my cousins play Pac Man and Mortal Combat there when they visited on Sundays. Sometimes, when I drive by, I see my grandmother sitting at the window, watching the street below. I wave even though I know it’s hard for her to see me.