It was a grey, drizzly day when Rosanna left William standing on the school’s wide stone steps. His new uniform hung stiffly on his slim frame, drowning him in navy blue. The matron had already taken his suitcase and sports bag to his dormitory, while they enjoyed tea and crumpets in the refectory. A smear of butter glistened on his cheek and Rosanna kept her gloved fingers crossed behind her back, praying that it would not be joined by a shiny tear. William was trying not to cry; she could see it in the chewed thin line of his lips. He was only seven.
“Goodbye my darling. Don’t forget to write. You know the address. I wrote it in your school diary, just in case. I’ll call you regularly and write every week, and we’ll see you at Christmas.”
She looked over her shoulder as she slid into the back seat of the Mercedes, where Mitch, her new American husband, was waiting for her. William stood rigid in his school blazer, tears glittering on his cheeks.
When they arrived at the house, everything was packed up and the furniture covered with dust sheets. Mrs Allen, the housekeeper, had left a note on the hall table promising to check on the house twice a week and to clean it thoroughly once a fortnight. Rosanna’s matching Mulberry suitcase and travel bag were waiting by the front door. The contract for the new editor’s job was initially for a year, to see how things panned out in New York, where Mitch had a large second-storey apartment overlooking Central Park. She and William had spent the previous summer there, when Mitch had bought her a closet full of designer clothes, so she was travelling light.
Kim M. Russell, 14th March 2021