General Fiction posted September 17, 2014 Chapters:  ...6 7 -8- 9... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Lucile takes baby steps and hints of past anguish

A chapter in the book FRIDAYS

Friday, Sept.. 15th (Part One)

by Fridayauthor

See author's notes. Thank you.
     Friday Number Five, September 15th (Part One)

     If I am to be known as a certified diarist, I must attempt to conscientiously record the happenings of the past week. It is not as difficult a chore as earlier. I am becoming addicted to this journal; conversations with myself. In addition to Amy, I now have this collection of bound paper as a confidant. Perhaps I'm trying to discover more about this person Lucille, now that I have time to do so.
     Amy continues to accuse me of taking all of my phobias to ridiculous extremes. She wants us to discuss my fears, but I dismiss her from my mind and continue my sewing. I am me, Amy. Leave me alone.
     The topic of Mr. Anderson weighs on my mind of late. I am suddenly aware of others' opinions, more so than usual.
     On Tuesday I ventured to town after school and bought a new dress. While this would seem a ho-hum errand to most, it is an infrequent happening in the life of Lucille Peabody who gets her money's worth out of every item in her wardrobe. The color and style were unusual too; a bright maroon jersey jumper that I think quite stylish. Amy says I made the purchase to please Mr. Anderson but I was most vocal in insisting it was simply another step in creating my new life. I wore it Friday evening however. Mr. Anderson complimented most graciously.
      Mr. Anderson has continued his practice of sitting next to me in church.  This past Sunday I was in for a surprise. During the greeting, instead of shaking my hand, he bent and kissed me on the cheek! I was temporarily mortified at this sign of public affection until I caught the eye, and opened mouthed stare, of hen Edna Ridley. I had to chuckle. She's sure to have us secretly wed in her mind, as will the entire hen house! At least the ladies will tie me to the opposite sex. Better that than a mind-picture of Lucille Peabody, shaved to a butch haircut, passing out flyers for the gay liberation army!
     I consider myself a fair shower-singer though I'd never dare utter a note in public. Sometimes in church I belt away a hymn if the melody catches my fancy and the rest of the congregation is sufficiently loud as to drown me out. Last Sunday a particular raucous tune heralded our exit from church and I was blasting away when Mr. Anderson caught me in mid-note and smiled. There usually isn't someone so close to my side. Though I blushed, I smiled in return.
     I never eat before mass, a carry-over from my mother who grew up when fasting before communion was mandatory. Though the church dropped the requirement decades ago, mother never deviated and I followed suit from habit. Sometimes I feel a bit faint during particularly long-winded homilies, and I am ravenous after mass. Byrnes Coffee shop is my weekly stop. I considered asking Mr. Anderson to join me, but I decided against it. I do not want to display any interest in extending our relationship. He knows of my Sunday morning habit, but has refrained from stopping by the shop while I am there. This gives me confidence he is abiding by our agreement of Fridays only.
     We are well into September now and the chill in the air portends winter. My garden continues to struggle along. While no frost has killed its beauty as yet, I fear for my flower-friends each evening. This Saturday morning I harvested what will probably be my last bouquet for church.
     When I returned from my delivery, I began to scrape the wallpaper in my bedroom, clearing seven layers by actual count, only two of which I remember. It is the room where I have spent all but about a dozen or so nights of my entire life. First I shared the quarters with my sister Emily, now alone for the last thirty-one years. The room is small and while my sister was still here I was forced to sleep in a crib, to my severe embarrassment. She slept in the small bed that even now remains pushed against the wall, awaiting my slumber.
     In spite of gaining title to Emily's bed, I was heartbroken when she left. I remember a lot of yelling and screaming and her exodus was not pleasant. The details were never divulged. She remained away for the next eleven years, ostensibly because her husband moved frequently until he was established in his profession. Emily never forgot my birthday or Christmas and showered me with presents and postcards which I hoarded like a miser. When she was still living at home she was more my mother than my own and in spite of her absence, I never stopped loving her more than any other human being.
     If Emily was nearer to my age and we had grown up together, we'd probably not been as close as we are as adults. We'd have fought over limited toys, haggled about the division of chores, and poked jealousies at one another constantly. Instead she was my Fairy God-Sister, descending from another world with hugs and presents, a make believe mother who loved unquestioningly.
     When Emily returned for my father's funeral, it was as if she'd never left.  Though her relationship with my mother was strained, they were politely cordial. After father's death, I would see her and her beautiful children periodically, more so after mother was confined to bed, with a near non-functioning mind.
     Why do I remain in this bedroom? Amy keeps asking me this question.  My parent's room is larger and I could easily make my bedroom into my reading area. I claim to have fought off my queasiness about my parent's quarters so what's the answer? I tell Amy it is a moot point as I have already erected shelves in the larger room. However, I might as well be honest on these pages; I would be uneasy sleeping with the ghost that dwelt in their domain.
     Habit again prevails. My small bed remains tucked against the wall where I've spent so many thousand nights, many cowering from life or my imagination, both of which always seemed ready to assault me. I would hide there when my father returned from work, hours after the eleven o'clock shift ended. He'd stand in my doorway, silhouetted by the bathroom light. I could smell his breath across the room. I don't remember him ever entering the room, but I was petrified he would. I would wait and wait until I could finally hear sounds from the other bedroom. When I confessed my fear to my mother, she said I was lying, just like my sister Emily.
     Amy is once again accusing me of dwelling excessively on the past. It is due to my tearing the old homestead asunder and uncovering ghosts of long forgotten memories. I keep telling Amy it's having a cathartic effect, purging away once and for all, specters and demons still hiding in the closet of an unpleasant past. She says that’s rubbish and accuses me of wallowing in self-pity. I just laugh and tell her I'm as happy as a kid with a double-scoop strawberry, in spite of being elbow deep in wet wallpaper and half-dissolved paste.
     When I tired of gouging and scraping and sloshing and pulling at the ancient wall covering, part of me was ready to quit, but most of Saturday remained. I rested only briefly before attacking my books, descending into the darkened depths of my cellar and climbing to attic heights retrieving box after box of tomes long ago packed away and long forgotten. I thought there would be adequate shelf space in my new reading room but I never dreamed how many hundreds of volumes lay gathering dust above and below me. I didn't dare venture to the garage where more books lay, packed with lord knows what other remnants of three generations of Peabody relics.
     Rarely do I discard a book, though I'm now faced with either donating many to the library, or admitting they will spend their lives boxed away from the minds that deserve their wisdom. I say this while wondering if wisdom is readily available between their dusty covers. I certainly sought it there, the summer after my clumsy tryst with Paul Croucher.
      Amy says, pshaw to books; one must step into the world to find answers. I tell her that’s a place where I don’t care to venture.

Earned A Seal Of Quality

Lucille is age thirty-seven and a near-recluse. Her mother has recently died. Lucille is redoing her lifetime family home in an effort to be rid of the ghosts of the past. A friendly priest suggested she record her thoughts and feelings in a diary and she is doing so. She has reluctantly accepted having Friday evening dinners with a church acquaintance, Mr. Anderson and is becoming more comfortable with this widowed man. Part of her, whom she calls Amy, is enjoying his company while her more conscious self is fighting any hint of intimacy as she recalls her past.
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