General Fiction posted September 26, 2014 Chapters:  ...12 13 -14- 15... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Lucile, mellowed by music and a drink, contemplates love

A chapter in the book FRIDAYS

Friday, Sept 29th (Part Two.)

by Fridayauthor

Please read the Author Notes for a book summary. Thank you.
Friday Number Seven, September 29th  (Part Two.)

     There have been others I've allowed to peek into the life of Lucille Peabody, however tentatively. Little joy resulted. There was Bart Davidson. He was a new teacher who joined the faculty after I had been at Whitcomb School six years. He was most persistent in calling me and always by the door when I was leaving school. One couldn't help but like him. All the teachers did, and still do, for that matter. He remains at Whitcomb to this day, though we seldom more than nod, when confronting each other in school corridors.

     I can honestly admit I felt my resolve to not date him falter when he'd smile and chat in his comfortable fashion. We lunched together, discussing topics of mutual interest. He was the only person who was always able to make me laugh. But when he asked me out, it was not for a dinner or a movie; it was for a weekend in New Hampshire. 
     “No problem,” he said. His wife understood his needs. I was the only person in Whitcomb School who didn't know I had caught the eye of a married philanderer! I could see the whispered smiles for months after.

     Frances Gale was a friend too, though the fault in the termination of our friendship rested entirely with me. Frances was a kind woman, several years my senior, who was a mentor during my early years of teaching. She and I would confide in one another; we both had ill mothers and I expect, though we never discussed it, past unfortunate sexual experiences.
We were friends for half a school year before I gradually became aware that Frances' attentions were more personal than I thought possible. When she openly expressed her physical attraction to me, I was horrified and abruptly ceased to have anything to do with her.
     Later, during my long seaside walks, and conversations with Amy, I wondered if my abrupt and violent reaction to Frances' advances might be because I too harbored similar feelings. No, I felt no sexual warmth toward Frances, only a long ingrained revulsion against what she sought.
     I feel more sympathetic toward her now, looking back on the situation. No, I don’t feel desire in any sense, but a sorrow I was not more understanding of someone as lonely as I; someone who at least offered, for whatever reason, to be my friend.  As long as Frances Gale remained in Sea View, I treated her unkindly. As I now write these words I truly hope she too has found happiness.
     My beautiful music continues and I refill my glass, hoping these words that no one will ever see, are not too wiggly and out of line. My electronic orchestra was purchased on a whim, a word hardly in my vocabulary a few months past. I would never have dreamed of spending plastic money on frivolities for my personal pleasure.  Did my God mean for me to be this happy?
     Only Amy darkens the mood. She really gave me what-for today, as mad as a petulant child.
     “Here you are, Lucille. You’re nearly thirty-eight years old, reasonably intelligent and marginally pretty. You’re blessed with an acceptable figure, but the thought of putting it to any amorous use petrifies you. Everyone else is hopping from bed to bed, with more husbands than we’ve had dates, more lovers than drinks, and you remain content.”
     “I am content,” I answer.
     “Stubborn is what you are!” Amy scolds.
     “Stop trying to make me into you!” I counter.
     “A wonderful man seems to care for us and yet we will not allow him to venture forward in the relationship a single step further. You’re a nun in teacher's clothing.”
     “You just don’t understand,” I counter.
     Amy knows I am happy but misinterprets the reason. I think she believes I am in love with Mr. Anderson, simply because I enjoy his company and look forward to my meetings with him. She doesn't understand love. After all, what experience has either one of us had with it?
     We love Emily, our sister, but that’s different. Love comes in dissimilar packages; love for a pet, for a child, for kin; a sister, and sometimes parents. But love between a man and a woman is unique. The difference must come from the physical attraction, that God-given urge that springs between the species. It is so tied to the love and intimacy as to be inseparable, an integral part of love that cannot be ignored. Absent it, love changes its cloak, becoming something different, no more than love of a kin or other.
     As dearly as I adore my sister Emily, I must admit it is not a totally unqualified love. Perhaps Emily and I love our mind's picture of one another, more than the real person. A “qualified” love? I realize deep down Emily isn't the saint I hold her to be and God knows I'm not close to her picture of me!
     Emily knows nothing of Paul Croucher or Gary Foley, who you have not met in these pages; both topics outside the bounds of our sisterly conversations. I am Lucy the good girl to my sister.  I so care for her that I'd do nothing to paint the “me” on a different canvas than what her rose-colored vision sees.
     I can't imagine loving someone more than I love my sister, and yet I know the bounds of that love. How all-consuming it must be to love another to the utmost, giving all and receiving all in return! Surrendering a part of yourself to create a new entity of both!
     I find myself thinking of Sarah after reading her words, her first mention of her future husband.
     “Ez came to call. Papa said he could.” Was Ez a friend too? Did Sarah so love this person she describes so little? I dearly wish she'd confide in me through her letters.
     If physical love is so important to total man-woman love, why do we so trivialize it? Mr. Anderson and I saw a movie last Friday that, admittedly, was humorous, but it treated love as a quick physical pleasure having nothing to do with long term commitment or endearing love. If we so utilize the urge for sex, how can anything remain to be given if strong feelings of love and commitment do pay us a call? Are we not cheating love if we have nothing to give it, nothing precious that we are holding back as an offering to love alone?
     Perhaps I shun romance because I am an impossible romantic. Can you truly love someone from afar, not knowing them completely and intimately? Isn't intimacy an intensely personal thing, a sharing that goes far beyond casual everyday contact? Sharing and trust, preceded by truly knowing each other. People are married years and never know each other beyond a superficial level and yet their relationship is often lasting and comfortable. But do they love each other? We're a society that has trivialized love and marriage until we've changed its meaning to a temporary arrangement, subject to the individual whims of the participants. A lifelong commitment? Don't be absurd! What a silly thought!
     If two people could and were willing to give themselves totally and unequivocally to one another in the most personal and intimate way of mind and body, how could that union, that intimacy, ever be severed except in the most extreme of circumstances?
     Amy accuses me of intellectual hypocrisy but I am unbending in my beliefs. She says I am simply fleeing reality by creating abstracts that do not exist in a real world. But they exist in the world of Lucille Peabody and I'll abide by them to my last breath, alone I suppose.

Earned A Seal Of Quality

Lucille age thirty-seven, is a school teacher and a near-recluse. After her mother's death, she is redoing her lifetime family home in an effort to be rid of the ghosts of the past. At the suggesting of her priest, she is recording her thoughts and feelings in a diary. After reluctantly accepting an invitation to have weekly Friday evening dinners with a shy church acquaintance, Mr. Anderson, she is becoming comfortable with his company. Part of her, whom she calls Amy, is rejoicing while her more conscious self is fighting any hint of intimacy. She develops a strong interest in old letters discovered in her mother's dresser.
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