For several days, things seemed to be back to normal. They ate breakfast and dinner together and Mitch even met her for lunch once. Rosanna felt a chill around him, a barrier that stopped her from reaching out to him or kissing him. The weather changed and she noticed a haze of little green buds across the park. She began to feel her mood lighten with every morning walk. She was given a manuscript by an unknown author that stirred her emotions and piqued her imagination so much she thought she might enjoy this job after all.
Then she got a call from Sabrina and her whole life fell apart.
It had been a hard winter in England. The school encouraged all children to take part in outdoor activities, particularly cross country and hare and hounds, also known as paperchase, in the surrounding countryside. Will was not a sporty boy, preferring to read and draw. Despite that, he had been doing well, sticking with the frontrunners in his year and winning a cup for his form. He had been so proud when he called Rosanna. But one freezing cold March afternoon, one of the hares took the wrong route and, before the sports master or the other boys could warn him, Will had run up a steep ridge, probably thinking he was ahead when he was the only boy up there. Nobody knew he was missing until the master counted the boys in. He organised a search party, but it was too dark, and they missed Will’s little body hidden in the gorse. The next morning, with a bigger search party, including police and dogs, they were too late.
Rosanna imagined her little boy out there in the freezing cold night, with only stars for company. How long was he conscious? Was he in pain? Did he call for her? The knot in her chest returned, tight and painful. She had no feeling in the rest of her body, her head rang as if a blacksmith was hammering on her anvil of a brain. She did not have the strength to call Mitch. She just sat in the apartment, staring at the park in all its greenery.