Alissa sat quietly at the back of the old country church while the priest said the funeral Mass. There was hardly anyone present, no one she recognized except Alfredo's wife, Rosaria, who cried quietly. She hadn't been back to Rossville in fifteen years, since the death of her own
mother. As the priest droned on, she was caught up in memories of the past. How many nights had she snuck out of her house, terrified, as her drunken father beat her mother. She would often cry herself to sleep at the Sanchez house and go home the next morning after her father went to work. Her mother would always make excuses for him.
Though Rosaria and Alfredo were struggling to survive on their little farm, they were always happy to see Alissa and welcomed her to their table. Alfredo taught Alissa how to fish in the creek on their land and, many nights, they would feast on trout they caught. Rosaria taught Alissa to knit and do needlework and sew, things in which her own mother never had an interest. When she finished high school and went away to college in New York, she felt sadder to leave the Sanchez family than she did her own parents. They thought she was ridiculous and
"high faluting" to go away just because she had been awarded a full scholarship to Parsons,
The New School for Design.
Outside the church, Rosaria saw her and crumbled into her arms. "Oh, child, I am so happy you
came. It means so much that you are here. Please come home with me because there is a
box Alfredo wanted you to have."
Alissa went with Rosaria to the cemetery and then to the farm. While she made tea, Rosaria went into the parlor and brought back a sturdy box. "This is for you," Rosaria offered. Alissa took it and, looking inside, saw it was full of little silver fish.
"Oh, my gosh, these are little fishing lures. There must be five hundred here." They both laughed. "I don't know why Alfredo kept them. He kept saying he was saving them to fish with
you," Rosaria said.
Two months later, Alissa's summer fashion collection debuted. The highlight and most talked about items on the NY runway scene were amazing pieces of jewelry designed by Alissa Wright, incredible necklaces, bracelets and long dangly earrings composed of brilliant Swarovsky crystals and shiny silver fish.