Lily bore the mockery as well as she was able. But she knew Michael and other perceptive students would detect the bloodless Beth wounds. Lily’s mind divided: should she forsake Covenant and return to Rook, or continue at Covenant, Beth notwithstanding? Her body mocked her, too. Her hip ached, and her reflection in the trophy case confirmed her skin’s pallor, thinking My frame and face betray me. She wrestled with the desire to be alone and the desire to be encouraged by Thomas McDavid, Donald, or Nathanael. Today, Lily felt an alien at Covenant.
As her teaching day ended, she stared at the top of her desk and at her lectern—notes she had made on Great Expectations and Hamlet written on Post-its. Lily stretched her right hand towards her copy of Hamlet when she heard Donald call her name.
“How about a coffee from the Cup-n-Saucer—my treat?” Donald asked.
“I’m in,” Lily said. Donald vanquished her longing for solitude.
“Is it okay if I stay in your room after school? After all, I’m old enough to be your father?”
“Oh, Donald,” Lily laughed, “thank you for that. I needed to smile.”
“I remember days farming, when Fred Aims and I used to swap stories of demonic angels that ate our corn, peanuts, and soybeans. Our wives would look at us like we were as dumb as fence posts, but Fred and I had to get a laugh amidst the trials of farming. I am not a book person, Ms. Rood, but I’d assume teaching is like that some days…” Donald said.
“I think there’s a special fence post with gray streaks and a bad hip out there with my name on it,” Lily said.
“Come on, Ms. Rood, I think you’ll need to drink your coffee black for what I’m going to share with you today.”
(To be continued)