General Fiction posted October 22, 2014 Chapters:  ...27 28 -29- 30... 


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Lucille has a late night visitor

A chapter in the book FRIDAYS

Friday, November 17th (Part Two.)

by Fridayauthor




Background
Please see Author Notes below for the summary of this novel, to date. Thank you.
            Friday Number Fourteen, November 17th (Part Two.)
           
            Mr. Anderson continues to religiously accompany Miss Peabody to dinner on Friday evenings, and Friday number fourteen was no exception. In fact, the evening produced the best news of the week! Mr. Anderson has been successful in locating the family names of Sarah, Anne and most of the other players in our ongoing saga of the nineteenth-century letters. He broke the news to me with a wine toast as we sat at our favorite table in Delaneys.
         
            The key to his success was the wedding date of Sarah and Ez. From there, he explained, it was a simple matter to check the census records for the additional information. He managed to locate dates of birth and last names for all the people we had met on the pages of Sarah's letters.
      
            Sarah is Sarah Jane Haskill, Sarah Fletcher after she married Ez. She was born on my birthday, November 28, in 1830 so the letters were written, as we had surmised, during the eighteen-forties. Anne was seven years older than Sarah and the daughter of Sarah's mother's sister. Much more information was available on Anne and her family of six children because they remained in Massachusetts. But, unfortunately, there was no clue to the connection to my family, if any, nor how the letters ended up in mother's dresser drawer. Sarah's future after writing the last letter remained a mystery. There was no news of her and her new family or details on their venture to California.
      
            I was as excited as a tickled toddler! Sarah, to whom I had grown so close over the past few weeks, had become a real person! Even if we do not share common blood, at least we share a birthday! I babbled on through dessert and told Mr. Anderson, who seemed quite proud of his success, that I couldn't wait for more news about the family!
      
            We tarried until most of the other diners had left, discussing these people of long ago as if they were mutual friends recently rediscovered. We speculated about present day descendants. Might we not be able to locate them? What would I say? “I knew your great-great-great-grandmother!” Perhaps someone has a picture of Sarah or Anne! Do I look like either of them? But the major question remained. How did these letters end up in mother's dresser? It was sad to think we may never know, but we’d made a start. We knew details about these people. I was convinced we'd be able to discover more information on these new found friends.
      
            The evening continued to be most cheery. After Delaneys we scurried to attend a high school play, arriving to a darkened hall ten minutes late. I have always enjoyed these productions. I marvel at the young people possessing such an abundance of confidence and poise, attributes I'm so lacking. The world is theirs, if only they'd recognize the fact. As I watched the young people perform I couldn't help feeling sad that Tyrone was no part of this world. Instead, success for him may be remaining alive to adulthood or remaining out of jail. Why? Who knows the harshness of the soil his seed was cast upon when he began his struggle to maturity.
      
            The play was a fun comedy, well-acted, and I knew three of the cast members from their early years in my school. It made me feel like an aging spinster to see my pupils so quickly grown, in both years and maturity, since I'd sat them in a circle and taught them to read. It seemed so few years ago.
        
            A light early season snow was softly falling when Mr. Anderson walked me to my door. I wanted to invite him in. We had gone for pie and coffee after the show and it was getting late, but I admit to being a little disappointed when he declined my invitation. I have my own company and my lack of a visitor gives me time to add these words to Father Hammond's assigned homework. And time to wonder about the world of Sarah Fletcher.
           
            It is now a several hours later than my last scribbled recordings; Saturday morning. I'm sitting here at my breakfast table, amid toast crumbs and daubs of marmalade, waiting for my coffee pot to do its business. Though only the late night hours have passed, they were by no means uneventful!
      
            When I had finished my writing, my sofa-refuge welcomed me for a few minutes longer while I dallied over hot chocolate. I wasn't quite ready for bed and I was reliving the evening in my mind when I was startled to hear a soft knock at my front door. It was well past midnight by then and the only person I could imagine who might be calling was Mr. Anderson, reconsidering my offer to visit. But when I opened the door, I was shocked to see Tyrone Bradley standing there, in only a light tee shirt, holding his arms about his body against the still-blowing snow.
      
            “Can I sleep in the garage?”
      
            “Is something wrong at home?” I asked, more shocked at seeing him standing there than anything else.
      
            “Stuff's going on I don't want no part of.” It was the longest sentence he'd uttered since I'd first met him. Though I wanted to know more, I felt it improper to press him further.
      
            “Come in,” I said, holding open the door, “It's freezing out there.”
        
            “Garage is okay,” he answered and turned to leave.
      
            “Tyrone,” I said, in my best second-grade-teacher voice, “come inside. No one is sleeping in a garage on my property.”
      
            He looked sorely disappointed muttered something inaudible and began to move away.
      
            “Tyrone,” I said, more sternly, “come in here. Now.”
      
            “You going to call the cops?” His back was to me but he had stopped.
      
            “No, of course not.” He grudgingly turned and stepped inside. I shut the door behind him. “I'll fix a place in my reading room.” Now it was Tyrone's turn to give me the same Lucille-is-crazy look I'd received from the hens, my fellow teachers and everyone else who had heard of my dealings with my attacker. I didn't doubt for a moment there was truth in the consensus, but at the time all I saw was a shivering fourteen year old boy; an eight-grader.
      
            Extra blankets and linen were still packed away in my mother's closet and I set about arranging them in a pallet on the floor of the room, amidst my books. I looked up, expecting to see Tyrone but he still stood by the front door, as if afraid to enter a step further.
      
            “Don't just stand there; come on in,” I called, somewhat sternly, “It's time you were in bed.” Then I added as an afterthought and pointed, “The bathroom is there.” I turned on my heels and without a further glance at the boy, went to my bedroom, closing the door behind me. My heart began to race as I realized what I’d done!
      
            I sat on the edge of my bed listening for some sound of Tyrone's movement. For a long time there was only silence. Then I detected a shuffle of feet to the bathroom, the sound of water, a flush and more silence. I waited minutes longer before disrobing to my ever-comfortable flannel nightgown, and then as if it offered protection, I donned my bathrobe as well.
       
            At first I didn't turn off my light but then thought I best at least pretend I was asleep, even if I were sure I wouldn't be able to close my eyes. I lay in the dark, propped up on pillows, my ear pressed against the wall, straining to hear any sound through the paper-thin partition that separated me from my parents' old bedroom. Memories of grunts, and cries and struggles of long ago came whirling back to my mind. And, in later years, sounds of creeping death in the wheezing coughs and gasps for breath from my dying mother. This night I heard none of that, only night sounds of the neighborhood, a slight breeze in the maple, a dog barking in the distance, an occasional car and silence.
        
            Silence had become my friend these past few months but now, knowing I was not alone, that another person, the first male in nearly twenty years to sleep beneath this roof, was but a few feet away. I strained my ears for some confirming noise. There was only stillness and the silence became more disturbing than the man-boy noises I expected.
      
            Finally, I crept to the door and opened it, to darkness, except for the glow from outside. Slowly I returned to bed and sat up, pillows behind me, counting the stars I could see in the frame of the living room window. It was hours later I heard the first noise and it awakened me from a half-slumber; feet slowly shuffling toward my door. In my mind it was years earlier and I silently cried for Amy as my father stood silhouetted in the frame of light before me.
      
            I must have made some startled noise because Tyrone spoke. His voice was soft, perhaps with sleep, perhaps with uncertainty, perhaps with fear.
      
            “I'm sorry . . . for hurtin' you.” And the silhouette was gone and the night was silently shrouded in stillness once again.
        
            After that I slept soundly, not waking until the disk of the sun had fully risen over the bay, and my room was flooded in red of morning. Tyrone was gone, the blankets piled neatly in a corner and I was alone.
      
            When Tyrone returned at the usual time on Monday, no mention was made of his nocturnal visit. But there was something unspoken between us that made me know I had nothing to fear from this troubled child.
      
 


Earned A Seal Of Quality


Lucille, age thirty-seven, is a school teacher and a near-recluse. After her mother's death, she is trying to rid her life-time home of ghosts of the past. Her priest suggests she record her thoughts and feelings in a diary. She has developed a strong interest in old letters found in her mother's dresser. At first reluctantly, now with increased interest, she is having weekly Friday evening dinners with a shy church acquaintance, Mr. Anderson. While comfortable with his company, she shuns a more serious attachment. Part of her, a make-believe friend from childhood whom she calls Amy, is pushing her to stop fighting any hint of intimacy. After being mugged and hospitalized, she is recuperating. Feeling sympathetic toward her young assailant, she has agreed to his community service under her supervision.
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