Lily (Part twenty-six)

“Ms. Rood, are you alone?” Thomas McDavid stood in the threshold of Lily’s classroom door, coffee mug in his right hand. Lily glimpsed a coffee stain on his long-sleeve tan shirt. It was shaped like a teardrop where it hung on his potbelly.

“Yes, I am. Come in,” Lily said.

“We’ve a few minutes before our young minds arrive. What course are you teaching first?”

“Senior English,” Lily said. “Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Dickens, among others. What every teenager longs for, right?”

“I remember that stuff, Ms. Rood. Chaucer went down the Mississippi with Pip, right? And Romeo dropped his handkerchief on the way to fight with Hamlet,” Mr. McDavid said. “It’s all crystal clear.”

“Ha! I see it really stuck, Thomas,” Lily said.

“Try to farm, Ms. Rood. Sow seeds now; the harvest comes much later,” Mr. McDavid said, and smiled.

“You’re right, of course. But I don’t know how I’m doing sometimes. In Rook, I felt like I’d done enough in the community that my students and families believed in me in the classroom, too,” Lily said. “I try to show connections to students…between their lives and what they see in Romeo and Juliet, or in Pip and David Copperfield.”

“Remember to farm, Ms. Rood. Patience is a crop we teachers need, too,” Mr. McDavid said. He smiled and winked at Lily in his avuncular manner, and left for his classroom.

Just when Lily thought he was gone, he turned and said, “I almost forgot to ask, but what did you think of our news in the library a few moments ago?”

“I think the Aims family may be like the Montagues and Capulets—lots of issues,” Lily said smiling.

“Families tend to be complicated. Maybe that’s why I am single and play a lot of golf,” Mr. McDavid said. “Keeps it simple for me.”

“Indeed. Have a good day, Thomas,” Lily said, as Mr. McDavid turned to go. Lily looked at her notes for class. Pip was off to search for a file and “wittles,” in Great Expectations, and Hamlet was about to spring a mousetrap on Claudius and Gertrude. Lily strained to focus but the Aims sisters weighed upon her—and Nathanael.

(To be continued)

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