I get to the line outside the clinic a little after seven, to find only a few people already waiting: a single man staring at his phone, a couple sitting on the sidewalk rapt in conversation, a woman reading a book. The day is hazy and gray, a featureless, unfocused sky above turning the buildings and streets the same gray.
I step into line, six feet away from woman and her book in front of me, and sit down to read my book, since the clinic doesn’t open for another two hours. Above the buildings and the streets and the people waiting in line and the traffic that periodically booms Christmas carols from rattling car windows as it races nowhere in particular as fast as it can up and down Flatbush, a single gull floats in complete unconcern to the chaos below, then changes direction into the wind and flies south, toward Coney Island and the sea.
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