A New York subway ride
Kitty had no trouble finding the lawyer who handled the Berg’s estate. She simply went to her computer and typed his name into a search and there he was. He had an office in Manhattan but when she called the number, it was no longer in service. He wasn’t listed in the phone book anymore and the trail seemed to end.
“Cal,” she knocked on the frame of his open office door. “Do you have a minute?”
Cal looked up. He’d been doing some figuring and his mind was off somewhere else. He looked confused by Kitty appearing at his door, something she never did.
“Problem?” he asked.
“No, not really. I, uh, I just need a little time off to, uh … ” She didn’t know what to say.
“When?” he asked.
“Well, today if I could. Maybe a couple of hours extra at lunch?” she asked hesitantly, as if he might get angry.
He looked at his computer and then pressed a couple of keys. He stood up.
“Is it something private?” he asked.
“No. Not really. I’m trying to locate that lawyer who was handling everything for Alva but all I could find was his old office address in Manhattan. It’s downtown so I thought if I went there maybe someone in the building would know where he went,” she explained. Telling him now, it sounded foolish.
“Want me to come along? Maybe I can help,” he offered. “Anyway I can take you out for a good lunch. You’ve been here three weeks now. Time we got to know each other.”
They walked to the subway station three blocks away. There was a biting wind that whipped around every corner. Kitty pulled up the narrow collar on her coat up as far as it would go. She kept her chin down against the cold. The gray sky threatened snow. Cal’s breath came out in gasps, making small clouds that dissipated immediately. He didn’t talk until they were waiting on the platform.
“How about Italian?” he asked.
Kitty stared blankly at him, not knowing what to say.
“For lunch,” he grinned.
“Oh,” she was relieved. “Yes. I like spaghetti.”
“Good. I know a great place. Run by a family from Milan,” he said.
Kitty didn’t know where that was so she said nothing. The train came, screeching to a stop. The doors opened. People got off. She and Cal got on. It was her first time traveling underground, except for her mother’s tiny root cellar. She watched out the window at the dark tunnel and the lighted walls.
“First time in the subway?” Cal asked.
“I really haven’t been anywhere,” Kitty answered. “Except for the bus station when I first arrived, and the taxi ride to Alva’s, and my walks. I guess I must seem real strange to you.”
“I’m not from New York either,” Cal offered. “Came here to go to college and then got my accounting degree and got my first job here. So I stayed.”
“Oh,” Kitty said. She didn’t know whether she should ask about anything else so she just watched out the window as the train rumbled along. They stopped once but Cal told her there was one more stop to go. She kept her hands folded on her lap. When they arrived, she followed Cal out of the train car and up the stairs to the street where the gray light seemed dazzling after the inside of the station. It was even colder here, the streets flanked by enormous tall buildings creating thin canyons that trapped the wind between the buildings. Cal asked for the address and they walked swiftly until they came to a huge building set back from the street by a wide plaza and banks of granite steps. Hordes of people swarmed all around going in many directions. Kitty was overwhelmed with the enormity of it all and confused by seeing so many people all intently rushing.
“Not like Brooklyn, is it?” Cal asked, his face next to her ear.
Kitty shook her head. They climbed the steps and Cal held a large glass door open for her. He led her to a huge desk where a couple of men in uniforms looked very official. Cal took the lead, first asking her the name of the law firm and the lawyer.
Kitty was amazed at the way he dealt with the men, at how he asked them for information, at how he negotiated with their reluctance, at the way he cajoled them into feeling important for helping him. They took out a big log book and started thumbing through it, going back, it seemed to Kitty, through many months of records. A couple of times Cal smiled at her and nodded. Finally one of the men stabbed at a page in the book with his index finger and said, “Here he is. I found him.”