Michael’s questions spurred Lily. Why? Always the question. Lily remembered stepping from her car onto Beulah’s blacktop parking lot for the first time. Weeks ago now when she met Donald, Fred Aims, Tim the Sunday school teacher, and Beth. Even with Beth, Beulah called to her. Tim taught Scripture the way she taught literature: read the text, explain the context out of which it was created, and then probe the situations and characters based upon the type of literature it is. Only by doing at least these things could one rightly interpret literature. Tim asked thoughtful questions, too, a hallmark of powerful teaching. Donald was there. And Mrs. Ellen Aims. And the pastor seemed humble and wise. Yes, she thought, she appreciated Beulah and her people.
And at Covenant, she believed she had a friend in Thomas McDavid. He encouraged her delicate disposition each time they were together. He was too old to view her sexually, so she felt safe with him. Moreover, he appeared to have read everything. He feigned not knowing which characters did what in Shakespeare’s plays or in the great novels, but Lily knew that he knew them all.
But what about Covenant’s leadership? What would happen to Beth, or between her, Sarah, and Ruth? And there was Nathanael.
“Miss Rood, did you hear me?” Michael asked.
“I’m sorry, but what did you say?” Lily said.
“I asked you whether you think Shakespeare expected us as readers of Hamlet to believe in the reality of ghosts. After all, King Hamlet appears as a motivating force for many, if not all, of Prince Hamlet’s actions,” Michael said.
“Excellent, Michael. What do you all think about the question Michael has raised, class?” Lily asked.
As hands went up to respond, Nathanael knocked upon Lily’s classroom door.
“I’m sorry, class. Give me just a minute, okay?” she said, and walked from the front of her classroom to the door. Heads swiveled in unison following Lily to her door.
“Good morning, Ms. Rood. I’m sorry to interrupt your class,” Nathanael said.
“It’s okay, but is everything alright?” Lily asked.
“Actually, I came to ask you a few things,” Nathanael said.
“Really?” The question hovered in the hallway air between them.
“Perhaps I should say that I feel like you are owed some explanation of what has occurred at Covenant, and a bit of background on my mother, her sisters, especially Beth, and how I came to be here,” Nathanael said.
“I would welcome all of that,” Lily said.
“Do you know where the Cup-n-Saucer is?” Nathanael asked.
“How about there about 6:45 tomorrow morning?”
“Sure,” Lily said. “I’ll be there.”
“Very well, then,” Nathanael said.
“Sorry again about interrupting class. Literature was my favorite subject in high school, and I’ve taken you away from your class for too long,” Nathanael said.
“Well, you’re the headmaster, right? I suppose they may excuse my brief absence from discussing Hamlet,” Lily said.
“Oh, do we not teach Dickens’ Great Expectations to seniors nowadays?”
“We do, for sure. But we are discussing drama this morning, especially how our past… you remember King Hamlet, right? Anyway, his ghost, or Hamlet’s mind, or whatever…well, the past played a crucial role in his future,” Lily said.
“As it did for Pip in Great Expectations, if I recall correctly,” Nathanael said. “Funny,” Nathanael continued. “The past is really what I wanted to discuss with you tomorrow morning.”
“I will see you at 6:45, then,” Lily said, and returned to her class.
(To be continued)