Someone else looking at her reflection , in the panelled mirror of the elevator, is Rosie Kitto, but she sees something entirely different. She sees a drowned poodle of a woman. This wasn’t the look she had planned for an important interview. Until five minutes ago, she was dry and fairly presentable. She doesn’t ordinarily wear make up much, but she has put a little bit on today and she has wrestled with a round brush and blow-dried her naughty hair so that it looks nearly tidy. This is the Upper East Side. People here care about this stuff, so she wants to appeal, to be what her Cornish mum always called ”andsome’. Typically, Rosie wears bright and bold clashing colours with great panache. She always has, and now that she’s thirty-eight, she has found a vintagey way to wear them. She often wears a bright scarf in a big askew bow on her head and vibrant flowery blouses, with rolled up jeans that might reveal orange socks in her winkle-picker shoes, like a cheerful 40’s landgirl. She finds this style suits her curvy figure and makes her happy, because it gives her the chance to rootle about in vintage clothes shops, oh joy, her favourite pastime. The pleasure a hidden-at-the-back-of-the-rail treasure can bring, and the thrill of the bargaining to boot. But Rosie is not a fool. She knows instinctively she will have to introduce any new employer to this eccentricity in stages, slowly. So for today, she has really tried to tone it down, smart navy pleated-front slacks, a yellow blouse and a light blue linen jacket. The red brogues are a bit of a risk, but she wants to be at least a tad honest about who she is, to anchor herself somewhat in her own authenticity.
Rosie hasn’t allowed for the changeable New York February weather. It was sunny and snappy when she set out to walk the fifty or so blocks from her cheap as chips but clean hotel near Times Square. Two blocks from the imposing Park Avenue building where the Wilder-Binghams live, the heavens opened and sploshed their contents onto the head of Rosie Kitto. She has darted into doorways for shelter, but not wanting to be late she pushed on, trying to avoid the rods of unrelenting wet that hammered onto her blown dry head and her coat-less shoulders.
So now, Rosie Kitto sees a drenched frizzy-headed poodle woman looking back at her from the mirror in the elevator. This is who her potential employer going to meet. Not a great first impression, but Rosie is a buoyant person, a great believer in ‘find the funny side’, ‘keep yer perk up’. Surely Mrs Wilder-Bingham will see what’s happened and raise a smile? It might even be the perfect ice-breaker? Who knows?