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.Her brother had been driving the car, but Theresa Iatoni had let Lucy’s mother be buried in a pauper’s grave.“You know she’s in California visiting the grandkids, right?” said the raspy voice in the receiver.“They don’t got winter there.Ain’t natural.”“California?” said Lucy, biting her lip.“Yeah.’Til the first.You want the number out there?”Lucy’s heart sank.The first of May was nearly a month away! She supposed she could call Theresa Iatoni in California, but how likely would it be for the woman to open up over the phone in a house full of surfer grandchildren? No, Lucy had to see the woman in person.“I think I’ll try her when she gets back.And if you happen to talk to her, don’t mention I called, okay? I want it to be a surprise.”“Sure, no problem.”Lucy replaced the receiver in its cradle and stood up, wondering if coming to New York had been such a good idea.Fantasies of finding her family had helped Lucy through some tough, lonely times.Did she really want to find out the truth? She might be just an illegitimate Cicarillo whose own aunt had abandoned her.Outside, a symphony of sirens, garbage trucks, and what sounded like gunfire rose from the streets.Lucy’s stomach rumbled like thunder, but something inside her relaxed.She had made her decision.Whatever the truth was, Lucy was going to find it.She had to know who she really was.FIVELucy spent the next few days exploring New York, gawking at the buildings and shops, but mostly just watching the people—break dancers and street musicians; stick-thin models dressed to the nines; Arabs with thousand-dollar briefcases; beggars pushing shopping carts full of litter.It was like window-shopping at the circus.After watching a teenager snatch a purse from a woman in front of Tiffany’s, Lucy even bought herself a bag of peanuts from a vendor.She finally found herself standing in front of the main library at Fifth Avenue and Forty-second Street, staring up at a matching pair of stone lions.Lucy trotted up the long stairs into the cavernous entrance hall of gleaming white marble, twelve-foot-high marble candelabra, vaulted ceilings so vast that she could barely hear the echo of her footsteps.“Where can I find old telephone books?” Lucy asked a guard.“Main reading room, two flights up,” mumbled the man.The stairs took her into a rotunda of dark wood and frescoed ceilings, the white marble giving way to red.She passed book catalogues and computers and walked into a room the size of a football field divided by a center partition.There were wooden tables and chairs with reading lamps every few feet.Halfway into the huge space was the microfilm department.“I’m looking for old phone books.”The bored teenager at the desk gave her a slip to fill out.Lucy requested the phone books of Manhattan and Brooklyn of thirty years ago.The boy returned in a minute with a stack of battered, square boxes.“You can view these over there,” he said, pointing at rows of ancient projectors.Lucy took the boxes over to an empty projector and opened one box.Inside was a thick roll of film, about the size of a can of tuna fish.Lucy struggled with the projector for ten minutes.Finally she turned to the boy beside her, a redhead about thirteen years old.“Can you show me how to thread this thing, please?” she mumbled.The boy rolled his eyes.“You never went to school or nothin’?” he said and installed the microfilm in a matter of seconds.“Rotten kid,” Lucy muttered to the projection of phone listings after the boy returned to the computer magazine he was scanning.No wonder she had flunked out of college.There were no Trelaines in any of the reels.Lucy went back to the desk again and again, until she had viewed all the phone books back to 1945.No Trelaines.It didn’t prove that Lucy MacAlpin Trelaine wasn’t a jewelry store, but still she felt a little better.The following morning Lucy got out the Yellow Pages and started calling hospitals.Her mother had left from New York.Circarillo was from New York.It was reasonable to assume that she had been born here, and if she had there would be a record of the birth somewhere.To her disappointment, however, none of hospitals she reached kept old records.“Check the health department,” said one polite gentleman with a Spanish accent.Lucy found a listing for birth and death records in the back of the phone book and dialed the number.“ … the information required for obtaining a birth certificate,” said the recorded voice, “is the full name as listed on the certificate, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, father’s name, borough of birth, name of hospital or building address where the birth occurred, and the reason the certificate is needed.”The recording gave another number for further assistance.Lucy dialed.A human being finally answered on the fourteenth ring.“You must give specific information in order for us to find a birth record,” said the woman patiently.“But I was orphaned as a child and I don’t know the specific information.That’s why I need you to check.”“You should ask your adoptive parents for more specific information.”“I wasn’t adopted,” said Lucy, collapsing onto the bed in frustration.“And there weren’t any records in the first place.”“All adoptions go through Albany,” said the woman, oblivious.“I can give you the number there.”“Thanks anyway,” said Lucy, putting down the phone unhappily.This was obviously going to be harder than she had thought.And more expensive.The Cokes in her room’s honor bar were $2.50 and they were charging her a dollar a phone call.By the time Theresa Iatoni got back from California, Lucy’s hotel bill would be over $2,000.And what if Theresa Iatoni wouldn’t meet with her or didn’t know anything?She sighed and rolled to the other side of the bed, where there were still some springs.New York seemed impossibly large.Lucy blanched at the thought of renting and furnishing an obscenely expensive Manhattan apartment, but she would have to find a cheaper arrangement—and a job—if she expected to survive here.And Lucy was a survivor.Lucy dumped the monster Sunday New York Times on the bed.The room was too hot.The odor of garbage wafted up from the alley below.So did the characteristic sounds of Love Choo-Choo, at it again.Lucy had been here nearly a week now but still couldn’t figure out whether Love Choo-Choo was a prostitute or just an enthusiastic housewife.“I can do it! I can do it!” callioped Love Choo-Choo at unlikely hours of the day or night, until a final “Woooo Wooooooo!” indicated that she had left the station.Lucy took out the Help Wanted section and started going through the classified ads.She didn’t know exactly what type of job she was looking for, but figured she would recognize it when she saw it.The listings weren’t too promising.Lucy figured she’d need at least what she had been making with Welcome Inn to get an apartment and pay the exhorbitant city taxes.The problem was she wasn’t qualified for anything.Lucy glanced at the resume she had worked up on her computer.Six jobs in eight years wasn’t going to impress anyone.The printout from her little dot-matrix Diconix wasn’t going to impress anyone either.At least “Harvard” looked good under “Educational Background”—as long as no one asked what degree she had earned.She was too honest about some things [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]