and declining to speak further after sheâd told them she was a journalist. Another, a large woman in her seventies, had a coughing fit and said she was too ill to speak. Strange. Rose had figured these women would be bored and lonely, eager to speak about the minutia of their lives. In fact, they treated her like a pain in the ass. A wreath of ivy encircled the peephole of the farthest door. Rose knocked and waited. âWho is it?â cried a hoarse voice. âMy name is Rose Lewin. I live on the fifth floor. Iâm a journalist, working on a piece about the Barbizon Hotel for Women.â The door opened and a strong-featured woman peered out. âYou live here?â âYes, just one floor up. I moved in a few months ago.â She didnât add that sheâd be moving out shortly. The woman looked her up and down. âYou want to talk to us crones?â The harsh term took her by surprise. âIâd like to talk to you, if you have a moment.â The woman shook her head. She had dyed red hair cut in a flattering pixie. âNo, thank you. Read The Bell Jar, read her poems. Iâve got nothing to add.â âI take it youâve been approached by the media before?â She waved her hand dismissively. âPlease. Everyone wants to know about Sylvia Plath, the guest editors, the drama. I donât know why. That was years ago, over and done with. But every few years, we get another gal like you, wanting to know the âreal storyâ of what happened to her here.â No wonder the other women of the fourth floor werenât willing to talk to her. âIâm not interested in Sylvia Plath,â Rose said. âI want to know more about the place, from your perspective. What rules you had to abide by, what your life was like, that kind of thing.â âHuh.â The redhead made a face. âI canât tell you how often we get notes passed to us from the doormanâfrom journalists, from tourists, from lonely teenagersâasking if we knew Sylvia the Great and Greatly Wounded.â âEven though she lived here only a month, I guess the tragedy outshines the facts.â âExactly. Who do you work for?â âI work for a media company called WordMerge.â The woman gave a throaty laugh. âThatâs a terrible name for a business.â âTrust me, I know.â âIâll talk with you, but I only have twenty minutes before I have to go see my doctor. You can come in and have some tea if you like. I just boiled the water.â Rose followed her inside, surprised at the stark contrast to the renovated units. The apartment was small and dark and needed another coat of paint. Or rather, several layers of paint needed to be scraped off first. The moldings that ran along the ceiling and around the windows were shellacked with latex. Deep grooves marred the dark wood flooring. The kitchen featured a shiny avocado-green refrigerator and matching oven, left over from the seventies. Rose tried not to stare at the outdated decor as the woman poured out two cups of tea. âMy hope is to talk with each of the fourth-floor residents, compile an oral history. I think we take for granted so much that happened between then and now.â âYou mean âweâ as in women?â âExactly.â âNo one cares. Trust me. Everyone moves on, thereâs nothing new to write about; itâs all been covered. Move on to something more interesting.â âLike what?â She stopped and put her hands on her hips. âHow do I know? Youâre the journalist, sweetheart.â A wild yapping erupted from another room, and Bird tore down the hallway toward them. âDamn dog. I thought Iâd closed that door.â âIs that Bird?â The woman studied Rose closely. âYou know Bird?â âMiss McLaughlin and I talked just the other day.â Not exactly a lie.