The trial starts earlier. 10:00 a.m. It’s an important day, because Ed is on the stand again, to be cross-examined by opposing counsel. The attack comes, of course, during this part of the drama.
In stark contrast to Wednesday, the day is brilliant. One of those moments when the wind blew away all upper air disturbances and left behind deep blue skies and sunshine.
We arrive a few minutes early. I know Ed is well prepared, and I also know he wants to do more than just give the correct answers. He wants badly to squeeze in a narrative – that forest – and there may or may not be questions that’ll permit it.
Five minutes. I have time to run up to the 6th floor bathroom. I hurry. And once again, the ladies’ room door is locked. Women in the court? Maybe, but the bathroom rights remain very oddly stacked against them, here in the court house of New York City. Never mind, the men’s room door is wide open. No one is there, no one is even on this upper floor, in I go.
No sooner do I close the door to the stall than I hear the tap tap tap of a cane. Oh God! I know that cane! It’s the respondent – the man behind all the litigation. I make not a sound. I think – he cannot find me here. Tap tap tap. I feel as if I am in a scene from the Godfather. That there will be blood on the walls soon in this ancient bathroom with the small tiles and the heavy wooden gates to the stalls.
I peer below the gate. He’s still there. Washing his hands. Drying them. And then washing them again. Loud running water, paper towel dispenser lets out more towels... How long, for God’s sake? And what if a stream of others comes in?
The door bangs, he’s gone.
The cross exam begins. From the start, Ed is slammed with questions intended to throw him off. We talked about taking time with answers and he does. I am hoping he is not unnerved. I know he is very goal directed. I know he can get back into his own words.
He does. Brilliantly. The opposing counsel, a litigation expert at a top NY firm, thinking that he may weave in uncomfortable issues long forgotten, actually opens the door and invites the very narrative Ed was hoping to work in.
After, Ed catches my eye and grins.
His lawyers beam.
We break for lunch.
There are other facets of the proceeding that I’ll leave aside. But I’ll say this much – it really helps to have good counsel, a good client, and to be on the side of right.
Ed is too full of adrenaline for a sit down meal and so we take a walk – to the park across the street...
...then up the Brooklyn Bridge, and back again.
He is going through the cool down period. You know how it is after the exam. Thoughts of phrasing you may have used, other details you should have mentioned. We walk and intermittently talk of the cross, and of the bridges around us. Of previous trips to New York, of being here as kids. Same years – the 1960s, he, up on 68th street, me down on 46th street, but of such different worlds! And still, traveling companions now, of sorts.
In the evening, we take the subway up to another bridge – the George Washington. Ed’s friends are meeting us there and taking us across the Hudson...
...to a Jersey restaurant. A small, neighborhood Turkish place with excellent salads and spinach pie and a warm, honeyed cheese desert.
We ride the subway back to the Village. Tired, but in a good way. Not in the New York life is a hassle way. Not like this mom I saw earlier, with three little girls, frustrated with their inability to get a cab, even though the little girls wont stop trying...
... and not like the tired faces I see all the time on the subway. Closed eyes to shut away the screaming noise of the cars, the crowds, the bills, the missed opportunities.
The mattress is low. Ed blows it up again.