Lily (Part seventeen)

After teaching her last block of English literature to seniors Friday afternoon, Lily thought of Sunday and Beulah. Will it have changed, she wondered. Covenant’s headmaster, Fred Aims, has died. Not only did he comfort me at Beulah but he would have been my headmaster here at Covenant.

Lily had believed in Fred. As things now stood, however, Lily had only Mr. McDavid at Covenant as confidant. Lily believed Mr. McDavid saw Beth for what she was. And there was Jergen-scented Donald, another Covenant board member, and deacon at Beulah. These two men, Lily admitted, do bring me comfort. And she liked Tim, too, the Sunday school teacher, but she had been so distracted by Beth in class last Sunday morning that she couldn’t say for sure what a fuller assessment of Tim might bring.

What would Tim’s class be like this coming Sunday? Would Beth continue to prattle? Would Tim allow her to direct others’ attention to her instead of to Scripture? Would Beth prostitute her father’s death for the maudlin? Lily knew how some women used life’s tragedies for their own agendas. Some women’s tears were liquid traps shed to devour the vulnerable. Lily had learned to detect narcissists by watching her mother.

Lily’s body betrayed her anxiety. Her hip and lower back ached, as if pressed by overwhelming force. Has it all been misguided, this coming to Covenant? Loneliness hung its dark cape on her as she drove from Covenant’s campus Friday, and she knew she had to act.

She waited until Friday’s February sun sank and darkness fell. She got into her car and drove back to Rook. For what? To quit Covenant? No. No, she said to herself aloud in her car, not to quit. Just to relearn what I know.

(To be continued)

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