“I’m very sorry, guys,” Lily said. “This is keeping you from our examination of Hamlet’s methods and/or madness, isn’t it?”
Through the rectangle of glass of her classroom door, Lily glimpsed Beth’s frame and red blouse.
“Ms. Rood. Would you do me the favor of coming to the counselors’ offices during your planning period today, please?” Beth asked.
“Today? I’m trying to get through Hamlet and Great Expectations with my seniors. Does it have to be today?” Lily asked.
“Thanks so much, Ms. Rood. I will see you then,” Beth said, turning her back. And she was gone. Beth personified dismissiveness towards those by whom she felt threatened.
Lily heard the clinking of Beth’s bracelets as she faded down the hall towards the counselors’ offices.
Reentering her class, Lily labored to refocus her mind upon Michael’s earlier question about ghosts. But her thoughts were of meeting with Nathanael early tomorrow at the Cup-n-Saucer, his cryptic intimations of what happened in his mother’s past with Beth and Ruth, and now being called to the counselors’ offices… de trop.
“’When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions.’ Who said that?” Lily asked her class.
“Jesus,” the class said.
“No, not Jesus,” Lily said.
“Shakespeare?” the class said.
“Yes. In this very play you’re to have read and understood,” Lily said.
“You always tell us the Bible and Shakespeare supply most of the world’s wisdom,” Michael said.
“I stand by that, Michael. And I’m sure Lily Rood figures in a close third.”
“You’re too much, Miss Rood,” Michael said amidst laughter.
As Lily had their attention again, she tried to reenter Elsinore and the question of Hamlet seeing his father’s ghost.
Even in laughter the heart may ache, and the end of joy may be grief, she heard in her mind.
It was only first period and her planning period was hours away, when she would walk to the counselors’ office; the irony was too much. Beth, a counselor, then headmistress for a blink, and now—what? To counsel Lily? To bring her into whatever past the Aims daughters apparently had never outgrown?
(To be continued)