Predawn. Lily’s brown hair lay upon her white pillowcase as if she had slept well. But she had hardly slept at all. The sheets appeared as if they had been assaulted rather than slept upon, twisted like rope. Her hip and lower back attested to her restless hours through the night. She lay upon her back, staring upward when a first ray of dawn entered a bedroom window. She glimpsed dust particles float above her cream-colored sheets in a tiny galaxy of planets, atmospheres, and mystery.
Mrs. Wilkins’ voice echoed in her mind: 7 a.m. Please be on time. At Covenant last week, Mrs. Wilkins had said the board had called the faculty meeting. It was, Lily thought, significant that Covenant’s board had called the meeting. Mr. McDavid and Donald assured her that the other Aims daughter would be in attendance.
She thought of Sarah, Aaron, and Nathanael. They seemed impervious to the trivial, as if they had long distinguished the significant from the banal. She felt drawn to them but was unsure what their roles would be in today’s meeting. And what of Ruth, the middle Aims daughter? She had not met her yet, and she wondered if she would be mannered like Sarah, or more like Beth, or perhaps neither. And what would Ruth’s role be with Covenant’s board, or with her sisters Beth and Sarah?
Lily thought these questions mocked her sleeplessness. But when she entered the school corridor, Thomas McDavid stood smiling at her, his coffee-stained mug in his right hand.
“Mane bonum, Ms. Rood.”
“Good morning to you, too, Mr. McDavid,” Lily said.
“Would you like to walk together to the meeting in a few minutes? I could introduce you to the other Aims daughters who are in town, and Nathan, too,” Mr. McDavid said.
“Actually, I met the eldest, Sarah, and her husband Aaron yesterday at church. I met their son Nathanael, too, but we were unable to talk very much. We were in a Sunday school class together,” Lily said.
“Wonderful,” Mr. McDavid said. “Sarah was a gifted girl. And she has grown to be just as precocious of a woman. Aaron is a fine man, too, and their son Nathan got the best qualities of his parents.”
Lily found herself smiling at the prospect of seeing them all again, and perhaps speaking more with Nathanael.
“Nathan’s heart is education, too, Ms. Rood, so you will enjoy getting to know him,” Mr. McDavid said.
“I would like that,” Lily said.
“Well, shall we go in?” Mr. McDavid asked, approaching the library.
“’Once more unto the breach’ then?” Lily asked, and Thomas McDavid pulled open the door.
(To be continued)