General Fiction posted October 8, 2014 Chapters:  ...18 19 -20- 21... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Lucille continues to evaluate her situation.

A chapter in the book FRIDAYS

Friday, October 20th (Part Two.)

by Fridayauthor

Please see the Author Notes for the summary. Thank you!
           Friday Number Ten, October 20th (Part Two.)
            It is Thursday afternoon now. School has ended for the day and I have floated down somewhat from my cloud of euphoria though I remain in love with life. But odd feelings creep their way into my consciousness, tossing aside my rote and causing havoc with my concentration. I have been on edge most of this week though there is no apparent reason. The solitude of my house gives me less comfort than it should. The changes to my home have been remarkable and I truly love my quarters, but it is as if something is lacking. I spend hours in my new den which has so completely replaced my parents room I scarcely remember that dark sanctuary I was loathe to enter, but even here I am not able to concentrate any more than in less hospitable surroundings.
            I actually went willingly to a special meeting of the hens last evening. They are planning a covered dish supper for tonight for one of their members who will be moving to a nursing home in another city. Her failing health requires her to move, near her daughter. A phone call would have sufficed to know what to bring but having missed last week's Wednesday gathering I made a personal visit.
            Mrs. O'Brien, the beneficiary of the planned supper, was not present so she became the topic of conversation. The discussion evolved to children who nowadays do not wish to inconvenience themselves to help their parents who did so much for them in life. I cringed inwardly. The “inconvenience” I endured was no modest concession, I want to shout. The hens compound the situation by giving me undeserved credit for caring for mother for so many years.
            Was I so kindly and charitable? I fear not. Perhaps I simply didn't have the courage to do that thing; send her off to some house of death to await her time amid like kind of failing individuals, while I wallowed in unbending guilt. My charity was inertia, a continuing of the status quo, the path most easily followed, not a gift of love. Mother became a habit; mornings and evenings administering to her shrinking body, rushing home at lunch to change her soiled wrappings and listening, ever faithfully, for her cursed bell summoning me.
            As I read Sarah's letters I wonder if her little acts of apparent kindness were also tainted with other motives. I think not, perhaps because I find it nearly impossible to think ill of this simple girl. There is much I'd dearly love to ask my new found friend of the last century, but I shall never have the opportunity. Still, she is giving me comfort and is helping me to chase the mood of the last few days.
             Amy says I miss my mother being in the house. At first I pooh-pooh her suggestion but on later reflection wondered if she is not, in part at least, correct. When I was very young a cousin and his wife occasionally visited us. The two never had a civil word to say to one another and the visits would often end in screaming matches between them, to everyone's embarrassment. Yet when the misses died, her husband was so lost he joined her in the grave a few weeks later. Voids in our lives perhaps need filling, even if they are created by the elimination of that which we detested while it existed.
            But I am in a far too favorable mood to let such weighty thoughts tax my scattered mind. I have my Fridays to look forward to and Black Cat is here to give me companionship. We are getting to know each other quite well, Black Cat and I. He is a quick study and has learned in hours that the refrigerator door means I am close to his food and if he steps up to my ankles and rubs and purrs he may be rewarded. Small expensive cans taste far better to his palette than dry food which he will only eat when all other offerings are exhausted.
            I have learned it is imprudent to lock Black Cat out of my bedroom as he will fling his body against my door until I relent and allow him entry. He will paw my face gently with his velvet pads just before the alarm sounds a new day and then stand patiently by the outside door, waiting to venture into my backyard for his morning business. No, any uneasiness about my life is quick to pass. I am truly content, both Black Cat and me.
            Amy's doubts aside, I remain totally firm in my resolve of nixing intimacy, physical or otherwise. As much as I care for Mr. Anderson, and, yes, in some ways need him, I won't let my feelings lead me to hurt once again. Thoughts of a looming impasse to our relationship are forever hinted by Amy but I chase them from the corridors of my mind. I am in too high a mood to allow them entrance. “Now” is for once the important time in my life, not yesterday or tomorrow and I chalk up my lack of concentration on the many changes that are taking place in my life.
            This is the element Amy has failed to consider. My situation has become a comfortable cocoon and I have no overwhelming urge to butterfly away from it. Amy and Lucy take excellent care of Lucy and Amy and the thought of altering this state to fit the whims and wishes of another party, for simple companionship is distasteful. Amy laughs at this, telling me I am fooling myself, minimizing my feelings, simply because I am experiencing emotions I've never felt before, but won't open the door to enjoy them.
            But I do enjoy them, Amy, whatever they are called. I even dance alone to my newly acquired music system if the mood strikes me. I hum to myself and wake with a smile to the new day. Go away, Amy! Lucille knows what she is doing.
            A wise Greek etched in the temple at Delphi the aphorism, “Know Thyself.” I do know myself, though at times I'm not sure when Amy tries to confuse me. Perhaps subconsciously Amy is me and even her name, Amy means “a me.” If so I pat the child-Lucy on the back if she were so clever in naming her make believe friend. But if Amy and I are one, then why do we persist in harboring these differences? I want her for my friend, someone to talk to in my aloneness, but why can't we see eye to eye? Why must we constantly argue and fight? I so want her to sing and dance and love life as I do, and stop reminding me of the shadows.

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Lucille, age thirty-seven, is a school teacher and a near-recluse. After her mother's death, she remodels her lifetime family home, to rid it of ghosts of the past. At the suggestion of her priest, she records her thoughts and feelings in a diary. She has developed a strong interest in old letters found in her mother's dresser. She has reluctantly agreed to weekly Friday evening dinners with a shy church acquaintance, Mr. Anderson. She had grown comfortable with his company, but recently she reacted abruptly when he kissed her. Part of her, whom she calls Amy, is pushing her to stop fighting any hint of intimacy. She is recalling troubled times in her past.
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