General Fiction posted October 21, 2014 Chapters:  ...26 27 -28- 29... 

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Lucille is criticized for overseeing Tyrone

A chapter in the book FRIDAYS

Friday, November 17th (Part One.)

by Fridayauthor

Please see Author Notes below for the summary of this novel, to date. Thank you.
            Friday Number Fourteen, November 17th (Part One.)
            My world continues its topsy-turvy pattern, so unlike the unchanging routine of only weeks ago. Tyrone's entrance into my life has forced me to appropriate many hours to overseeing his daily visits. As a result, I've not had time for my seaside walks, my books or other little pleasures that previously occupied my days. Even my after-school chores have suffered, but I am proud to say, I am adjusting quite well. It is late Friday evening so you can see I am at least back on schedule with my routine, adding a description of the weekly happenings to this almost-filled journal, after my customary evening in the company of Mr. Anderson. First, allow me to register the sad occurrence of the past few days.
            Black Cat has deserted my premises. For three days he has not returned and I fear he has emigrated to more favorable digs. While I don't deny shedding a tear last evening at his absence, I am proud of myself that my reaction was restrained. I'm sure in her other life, Lucille Peabody would have been distraught for days after being given so direct evidence that love she reluctantly offered was summarily rejected. While I secretly hoped Black Cat cared for me as much as I for him, the new worldly and practical Lucille Peabody of today realizes life is not without setbacks she must endure. Perhaps I am truly making progress though I do dearly miss the absence of the rhythm of his motor upon my lap, as I sit here and record his departure.
            Sunday's rain made a bog of my garden so continuation of work outside with Tyrone was impossible. But, believe me, I was not lacking for other chores that cried for attention. I have hardly begun tackling the cellar and attic. Both demanded far more effort than I have given them, but my garage presented the greatest challenge. Therefore, when Tyrone showed up on Monday I designated that collection of junk as our prime project. Amy claimed I specified an outside location because I was afraid to be in the house alone with Tyrone. Utter nonsense. He has given me no reason for fear.
            I had set aside some of my insurance money to repair the garage though the funds might have been better spent tearing the old building down. The structure had begun a slow list toward the Slattery property to the right of my lot. I was fearful a strong wind might collapse the entire building! I neither drive, nor had any intention of learning, so saving a garage may sound unnecessary. However, the building provided space for my garden implements, when I could squeeze them in, and it presented balance to the property. One thing was certain; even estimating the work necessary to restore the building was impossible, until the mountain of junk within its confines was emptied enough for inspection.
            I walked Tyrone to my sagging garage, indicating I wished him to begin moving out the boxes of accumulated history for my back-porch review, and ultimate disposal. I had some vague notion of having a spring garage sale and ridding myself of the debris once it was sorted, but I could have probably saved the effort. Deep down I was sure there was nothing there I truly wanted. But I had thought the same of mother's bureau and it produced the treasure of Sarah's letters. Perhaps buried in the long forgotten junk of the garage were more secrets awaiting discovery!
            Tyrone nodded and began to do my bidding. Then he noticed the car.
            Before my father's death twenty years ago, he drove a seven year old Chevy. Since that time the vehicle has remained exactly as he left it, now buried beneath boxes of assorted junk in the same position he parked, atop years of oil stains and four flat tires, the center piece of the dust filled building. Lest you come to the wrong conclusion, the car was no vintage relic of a classic era awaiting a collector's discovery. Nor did the vehicle remain in place as a sentimental treasure, like an empty setting at the table, or a coat on a rack, awaiting the return of a deceased loved one. My father's Chevy had seen better days when he was alive, and twenty years later it remains in place, succumbing to rust and decay, simply because no one had seen fit to put it out of its misery, by hauling it to the junk yard. Neither my mother nor I had any use for the automobile, nor would I guess, would anyone else. At least its enclosed location didn't create a neighborhood eyesore. It was out of sight and out of mind for two decades.
            “Just work around it,” I told Tyrone. “I'll have to get someone to haul it away one of these days.”
            “Does it go?”
            “It did twenty years ago,” I answered jokingly, but Tyrone seemed not to understand. He simply continued to haul boxes, robot-like, with no further word, until it was time for him to leave. But I could see him eyeing the dirty hulk as it slowly emerged from beneath the cartons and dirt and long abandoned furniture. His interest continued on Tuesday and Wednesday and when the car was finally freed from its burial mound of clutter, he asked politely if he could look inside. I shrugged in agreement and after a tug or two he opened the door and slid behind the wheel. My father's lunch box was still on the seat.
            The more I get to know Tyrone, if grunts, monosyllables and giving orders are getting to know someone, the less I understand him. He is quite neat in his own way and seems to take pride in doing what I ask of him without comment. He is at times preoccupied and I suspect, not unlike most teenagers in many ways. I would love to get to know him; find out what makes someone like him do violence, steal, expose himself to jail and ruin, but I know I never will. We are simply too far apart in our worlds to have anything but a nodding relationship with one another. And perhaps a modicum of respect.
            His teacher sent a nice note to me saying Tyrone seemed to be putting forth a real effort to follow what was required of him in class. Apparently he was getting some business from his friends about his new attitude, but was managing to ignore them. The message pleased me to no end. Perhaps the fear of jail was a true deterrent, at least for the time being. I cannot but guess how incredibly difficult it must be to succeed in emerging from the tight confines of his world, perhaps as comfortable to him as mine is to me. I told him I was pleased with his accomplishments but his reaction was his usual unreadable silence. While he does not appear to despise working for me, he shows no sign of enjoying it either. I have never met a less responsive individual. The only thing that seems to interest the young man is my father's ancient Chevy. He continues to look it over from broken tail light to dented fender, as if it were the center piece of a new car dealership.
            On Wednesday, word had spread to the hens of my arrangement with the court concerning Tyrone, and the fact, “the dirty little mugger,” as they referred to him, was actually at my house, unguarded! I knew it was only a matter of time until word reached the ladies and I was tempted to take a holiday from our Wednesday night gathering. Amy urged me to attendance with chants of “chicken, chicken, chicken.”
            The hens were of one voice concerning the matter: Lucille Peabody flipped her lid! Though propriety forbade them from saying so publicly, conveyed their thoughts with open mouthed stares, raised eyebrows and clucking. Each, in turn, pulled me aside to convey their unbridled personal support. Agnes and Bertha offered daily visits, to sit by the phone to call 911, when, not if, the need arose. Catherine’s grandson knew karate and she was certain he’d provide guard duty willingly. Phoebe Shaw frightened me the most.
            “Henry’s been gone eleven years, but I still have his gun.” She began digging in her purse. “I’ve got it right here. It’s got bullets. I never used it, but I’ll bet if you just wave it at him when he makes, his move, it will scare him to death!” She extracted a large revolver, holding it close to her ample chest so the other hens wouldn’t see her. The thing looked like a World War Two relic. I was aghast as she pushed it to me!
            “No! Please! I hate those things!” I cried as I stepped back. 
           Agnes McNaught noticed my reaction and started toward us. Phoebe quickly reburied her weapon. I smiled at our chairlady and told her how I appreciated everyone’s concern.
            Father Hammond pulled me aside after the meeting. I was prepared to defend my decision concerning Tyrone, but he didn't mention the boy, only this journal now propped upon my lap. I assured him I had nearly completed it and the writing was doing me a world of good. (I must remember to ask my God on Sunday if exaggeration is a serious form of lying.) The good father again offered to go over the book with me when it was completed, but the crimson of my embarrassment caused him to quickly add that the choice was mine. I stammered that I felt the benefit was in the doing, and parts recorded were somewhat personal. He nodded in agreement and added it was therapeutic for me to be writing about “matters close to my heart” but he remained available if I needed counsel. And, he added, he was pleased I was ‘involved’ with a gentleman. I guess I nodded or mumbled some response because I was freed to hurry home.
            Father Hammond is right. I am involved. It makes me cry to say it, but it is true. For as long as I've tried to avoid it, I am, in my own way involved. The thought of it scares me to death!
            Emily still telephones if two or three days pass that I haven't called her and brought her up to date. Her main topic of conversation remains unchanged.
            “Has he made a move yet?”
            “Emily, we're just friends. Good friends.” She will have none of it. She makes numerous suggestions about dress, sly comments I should make and finishes by telling me how intolerably old fashioned I am. I grunt at appropriate times and attempt to change the subject. Though I'm looking forward to sharing turkey with her, her family and Mr. Anderson, I quake at what she might be concocting concerning us. I want to scream at her to leave us alone! I'm so frightened she will disturb what I have, just because she has a mystical calling to see that sister Lucy gets a man.
            It takes concentration when talking to Emily to continue to refer to Mr. Anderson as “Philip”, but I do so as there is no way she would understand the formal titles we have bestowed upon one another. There is something symbolic about “Mr. Anderson” and “Miss Peabody.” Instead of terms of formality, I’d like to think, they are terms of the special relationship we have, like nicknames two persons close might secretly share. We only use the titles when alone; never to third parties.
            But it's “Philip” when speaking to Em though it's difficult as I am not devious by nature, nor do I do well with secrets. I managed to keep Emily in the dark about my arrangement concerning Tyrone, but even that lasted only for a few days. She called when the boy was on duty. He came to the door when it was time for him to leave. I had no choice but to explain to Emily. She was beside herself.
            “Really, I’m in no danger,” I pleaded.
            “Tell me the police are there!”
            Fortunately, it was coffee break time across the street, so I wasn’t telling a lie. “They’re right out front,” I answered. I proceeded to tell her Mr. Anderson had attended the court session, implying he had given a favorable opinion on the endeavor.
            “He let you allow that thug into your house?” she screamed. I tried to explain that my relationship with Mr. Anderson didn't extend to my having to seek his permission for my actions. She huffed and puffed for twenty minutes before hanging up, still thoroughly upset with me. I suspect she may have telephoned Mr. Anderson herself though neither mentioned her doing so. The next time we spoke she was calmer, though not even close to agreement with my arrangement.

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. Feeling sympathetic toward her young assailant, she has agreed to his community service under her supervision.
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