General Fiction posted October 18, 2014 Chapters:  ...24 25 -26- 27... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Lucille continues to feel sympathy for Tyrone Bradley

A chapter in the book FRIDAYS

Friday, November 3rd (Part Two.)

by Fridayauthor

Please see Author Notes below for the summary of this novel, to date. Thank you.
     Friday Number Twelve, November 3rd (Part Two.)

     By Friday I had made up my mind how to handle the hearing for Tyrone Bradley which was scheduled for the following week. I resolved to tell Mr. Anderson of my decision, although I’m not sure why. Perhaps I hoped he'd understand what I proposed, but my determination to tell him caused me almost as much anxiety as actually doing it. Seeking outside counsel on any subject was out of character for Lucille Peabody.
     Mr. Anderson had asked if he should bring a takeout dinner to the house on Friday and pass up Delaneys, but I insisted I was feeling fine. It was comforting getting out to Delaneys’ cheery setting. Even the waiters were overly attendant, having read of my entanglement in the newspaper.
     I introduce the subject of my assailant to my dinner partner by conveying the humorous Wednesday night meeting of the hens, but he didn't find their reaction near as funny as I had. He told me he too, was very proud of my actions. His reaction to the incident was surprising. He has been most solicitous of me, but I sense he has discovered there seethes beneath the surface of Lucille Peabody, a person he knows far less than he thought he did. While this is true, the hidden Lucy isn't the terror of lower Hawthorne Street, but a frightened waif, scared of life and the world in general. And now I pledged to confide to him my decision on Tyrone Bradley. I was sure he would think me totally daft.
     Once the meal was over, I took a deep breath and blurted to Mr. Anderson what I had in mind. He was very kind, and while I'm sure he didn't agree with me a mite, he never said so, nor did he laugh and call me a mental case. He had sensed my feelings were strong about the incident, but he never questioned my reluctance to appear at the hearing. I suppose after a dozen Fridays he knows Lucille Peabody well enough to understand how difficult it would be for me to appear before the court.
     I had resolved to write a letter to the Judge Ingersol asking that he consider Tyrone Bradley's age, and his family situation, which I understood to be deplorable. While I felt Tyrone deserved punishment for what he had done, I saw no benefit to society in sending him away, where he would be further exposed to the corrupt influences. As I was the injured party, I proposed Tyrone be sentenced to serve sixty hours, working for me, at my house, under my supervision, and my responsibility. He would also be required to conscientiously attend school. This would be his alternative to incarceration. If he faltered in carrying out the provisions the court assigned, he'd be sent away. Mr. Anderson only raised an eyebrow after reading the letter I’d penned. He neither questioned my judgment nor called me a fool for what I proposed. Anyone else would have surely done so.
     I had thought long and hard over my proposal. While I was petrified at the prospect of having Tyrone Bradley placed under my responsibility, I could think of no other way to keep the boy out of the juvenile prison, the sole alternative. If I were to ask for a deviation to society's answer to this boy's crime, how could I expect anyone but me to take on the burden? Sarah and her family had answered their own problems and I would ask no one to answer mine.
     “I'll attend the hearing personally,” Mr. Anderson stated after some consideration. “The courthouse is around the corner from my store.”
 He smiled again and changed the subject to some mundane topic. It was the nicest thing anyone has done for me in ages, and set my mind on a smoother track than it had been for a week.
     Mr. Anderson gave me ample opportunity during the rest of the evening to expand on my decision, but I didn't raise the subject nor, thankfully, did he. Fear that his opinion might be voiced against the decision kept me silent. While we might argue the merit of a movie or book, I had not a leg to stand on in defense of my proposal to the court. I was letting my heart rule common sense, but I knew equally well if Tyrone Bradley were sentenced to the youth facility, I would blame myself the entire time he was incarcerated. I’d not spoken a word to the boy. I had no idea if he was incorrigible or perhaps disturbed. While having him in or around my house petrified me, it seemed the lesser of two evils. Oh well, I said to Amy, “There's still another of grandma’s trays!"
     I was feeling tired after dinner and instead of a movie, we returned to my house. The TV offered no acceptable fare, so we listened to some music on my new sound system and relaxed. And we talked.
     We continued to discuss Sarah and her letters. Mr. Anderson was making progress, he thought, on narrowing down her family. He would travel to the Federal Records Center in Waltham the following week. We discussed nineteenth-century young woman’s decision to leave all behind and take on a new life in the unknown west. Sarah's zest in accepting the challenge seemed totally unlike the two of us, pondering her choice decades later.
     Our conversation of family led Mr. Anderson to discuss my sister Emily, and how different she was from me. I described our childhood together, as abbreviated as it was, and how my sister was a mother to my younger years. It was the most personal conversation we'd had to date. It frightened me that I was treading on forbidden ground, places where I wished not to trespass. Perhaps he sensed my feelings as he didn't linger on the subject. He did indicate he was looking forward to visiting with Em and her family in New York State on Thanksgiving.
     After saying good night with a kiss and a hug, he left, much earlier than usual.  I must have been more exhausted than I would admit as I fell asleep almost at once, even neglecting the chore of penning words to this volume.
     In spite of having resolved the matter of Tyrone Bradley's fate at the upcoming hearing, I was still unsettled about my part in the attack. My concern sounds silly reading these words. After all, I was simply a victim, wasn't I? Why should I feel any guilt or remorse? I didn't do anything to be ashamed of, did I? I suppose my sense of guilt was due to the undeserved praise being heaped upon me for what I saw as nothing more than a sad and unfortunate incident. I needed someone to understand.
     Saturday, I decided to go to confession, not to unburden sins, but to seek understanding. It would be the first time in twenty years, since that awful day when mother had hauled me down to church, after an afternoon of soaking my sins in the bathtub. I was apprehensive about doing so but was sufficiently troubled to make the effort.
     There was no one else in the church, so different from times gone by. Twenty years ago the building was crowded and, blessedly, anonymity in the numbers of kneeling penitents. Now there was no place to hide and as I knelt, my heart racing, I knew I had made a mistake in coming. Father Hammond would recognize Lucille Peabody at once. What would I ask him? He was here to give absolution, but what was my sin? I couldn't disguise the facts; everyone knew what happened with Tyrone.
     What should I say? “Father, I hit someone. I nearly killed a boy. If I had, I'm not sure I could have carried that burden.” It was more than a week since the attack but it remained fixed in my mind. No, I wasn't frightened of dark places, only dark results.
      After kneeling alone for twenty minutes I silently crept from the church. Only two other people had come and gone as I knelt there and I couldn't bring myself to sneak to that darkened box and confess to the shadowy profile of Father Hammond how unsure I was of my actions. I'd have to rely on a private conversation with my God, and hope He would understand, and assure me I was doing right. Once again, Lucille Peabody is the only one who can help Lucille Peabody.
     Mr. Anderson and I attended church together on Sunday. He picked me up in his car. People I hardly knew and had never spoken to came up to me and wished me well. I nodded politely, growing even more uncomfortable about accepting congratulations for a deed for which I felt no pride.
     My God and I paused over the Our Father prayer. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. . . .”
     I wasn't sure I was forgiving anyone, certainly not Tyrone Bradley. Was I just appeasing Lucille Peabody's conscience? I was noticeably quiet but Mr. Anderson didn't comment. Even the hymns sounded sad.
     My next visit to the doctor wasn't scheduled until Wednesday so I wasn’t released to attend school at the start of the week. I had three more days alone in my house. Monday passed at a snail's pace while I sat knowing the court hearing was taking place and I should be there. I considered sneaking into the back row but the thought of discovery and being publically questioned so petrified me I dismissed the idea summarily. I finished up another pillow for my sofa but my sewing was as erratic as my thoughts. It was early Monday evening when Mr. Anderson called.
     The hearing had concluded as I requested. Tyrone would be released to start his work duty under my sole supervision. I gathered from Mr. Anderson that the decision was not reached without discussion, but he neglected to offer what he had contributed to the outcome. No matter; the decision was ruled as I’d peoposed. Tyrone Bradley would report to me on Wednesday after school, just two days from today! I didn't know whether to be pleased or frightened to death, so I chose a combination of the two, but still thanked my God and Mr. Anderson for the outcome.

Earned A Seal Of Quality

Lucille, age thirty-seven, is a school teacher and a near-recluse. After her mother's death, she remodeled 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 is frightened of 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 at home. Feelings of sympathy for her assailant grow stronger.
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