Once they landed in New York, everything became a blur of bright lights, yellow taxis and tall buildings. Rosanna spent a few days recovering from nauseating jet lag and then launched herself into a busy life of high-profile publishing.
Her new employer’s offices took up the whole of the top two floors of a skyscraper in Manhattan. It was not far from Mitch’s apartment – she could not think of it as belonging to her – only a ten-minute walk away, although she preferred to set out early to walk through the park. Mitch had lectured her about the dangers of Central Park, but the trees and the lake reminded her of the countryside back home. When she first moved in to her smart office, she avoided the window, kept the blind lowered and the desk light on. Her colleagues laughed and made a joke of it. She found herself paralysed by the distance from floor to ground, the size of the people below, and the sinister movement of the building.
And then there was the New York accent, which she feared she would never understand in crowded meetings and restaurants. One to one with Mitch was fine; he had a deep, lazy voice, smoky and sexy, and he poked fun at her precise consonants and clipped vowels. She had at least some understanding of how William must feel.
One late autumn day, she had wandered down to Central Park to sit on a bench to eat her lunch while watching the skaters, when she found herself humming the Joni Mitchell song, ‘It’s coming on Christmas… I wish I had a river I could skate away on’. The ice rink reminded her of a snow globe. She packed up her half-eaten sandwich and dashed back towards Bloomingdale’s. For the first trip home at Christmas she wanted a special snow globe, one that contained a winter scene with a house like the one in Surrey. It would make a great stocking filler for William and show him how much she missed him. She called him several times a week, sent postcards, presents and a card on his eighth birthday, but it was not the same as being with her son.
Kim M. Russell, 28th March 2021