Entering the elegant brick building which houses Trinity School, I feel insecure, and a little jealous. I would have loved to go to school in a place that looks like this, I was stuck with a glass and plastic monstrosity. I have only just entered the foyer, and am glancing around, when I hear a distinctive Brooklyn accent behind me. “You’re the reporter ain’t ya?” I turn to face a very beautiful woman, and sigh silently. All of Alicia’s friends seem to have been very photogenic, as though they should have been models, rather than teachers, lawyers, cops and so on. “Rosa Yates.” She turns on her heel, while I’m still holding out my hand for her to shake. I follow her down the corridor, and into a large empty classroom. Someone is reciting poetry in the room next door, I dimly recognise a line or two as being Ginsberg’s, a after effect of my parents’ being fans. “We have to be quick, cause I’m teaching in twenty minutes.” Rosa takes a sip of the coffee she’s holding, as we sit down at the nearest table. “You said on the phone that you were after stories about Ali, what kinda stories?”
“Anything that you are willing to share. I think that Mr Ross just wants to give all sides of his wife.”
Rosa opens her mouth, and then a curly haired woman pokes her head around the door, “Rosa, I’ve been looking for you.” Relief spreads across her face, “Carter’s on the phone for you. He says it’s urgent.”
“Oh what is it now?”
“I have no idea, he just says that he needs you,”
Rosa leaves, with the curly haired woman, tossing a hurried “I’ll email the tale to ya,” over her shoulder.
The thing I remember most about Ali, is how good a friend she was. She was always the one to organise me, Hayley and Kim, the driving force behind most of our outings. The day I lost my job at Brearley, she was the first one to phone. In fact I had barely left the head’s office before my phone went off. “Hey Rosa,” it was a relief to hear her voice, as she had been out of contact, in San Paolo for the month preceding.
“Hey Ali, what’s goin’ on with you?” I was glad of the distraction, as it meant that I didn’t have to deal with the false sympathy that a lot of my former colleagues would have offered. It was my own fault after all, that I got fired.
“Meet me for a coffee wouldya? I’ve got something I need to ask you,” Jim was the only one that met my eyes, but he was stuck in conversation with Melissa, and so I strolled out of the main doors without a incident.
“Just meet me Rosa. I’m in Oslo’s, with a cup of that green tea crap you like,” it didn’t take me long to get to Oslo’s, my pace quicker than normal, because I was eager to see my friend again. Ten minutes later I was sitting opposite her at my usual table, laughing as she laid out her plan. Twenty minutes after that, we were on the road, heading out of New York, with the radio blaring while Hayley and Kim sang along tunelessly in the backseat.
I’ve barely finished reading Rosa’s email, before I get a response to the request for a interview that I sent to Paula Ryan, a friend that Alicia made while working for Green Industries, just after she graduated. Paula’s now working at Axel Plastics, but wants to meet me at Boulud Sud.
I hope that she’s going to be the one paying