Sunday, May 30 continued
We all in our various degrees leaned or ran or stretched a hapless arm toward the three women but only Peter’s legs actually moved and them so fast it was as if he flew. Almost before the mallet shattered inches from her, he was at Lura’s side covering her with a gesture of such protective love I think it took us all, them most of all, by surprise, for when Peter finally released her, Lura looked straight at me and shook her head. Her eyes were sad above her smiling mouth.
I looked to Peter, to Kate, to Jacob but no one saw me. Suddenly, Professor Sargeant’s arm was around me. But I’ve never had the capacity for accepting sympathy. My way is to petrify into a stoicism unbreakable, untouchable, oh, until much later. You can read these words as tears, but I’m not crying yet. Still, I was grateful to my neighbor.
So, he loved her after all. So, no one told me. So. Well. Is there a law that says they must. “We wanted to,” said Kate, much much later, for the evening did not end with Peter and Lura. “We tried to. I wish I had.” Yeah, now.
Monday, May 31
I thought I had a boyfriend and I thought I had friends, new friends. Maybe I didn’t know everything there was to know about them, but what I didn’t see was that through this brief season another drama was playing out, and that all these people were living it—Billie and Allen and Kate and especially Jacob, who was so angry at Peter.
Peter’s friends were seeing him and Lura and his behavior toward her and how his behavior toward me. That’s why Jacob was so angry and that’s why he threw the croquet mallet. He meant to hit Peter, he almost hit Lura. Instead, his mallet crashing woke us all.
Peter doesn’t love me. And maybe I don’t love him, but right up to that minute I was living another life. I was thinking…well, you know what I was thinking.
How quiet the complex is, the way Tuscaloosa feels after a home game when the Winnabagos and SUVs have gone, before the litter has been shoveled into a landfill and the bourbon-scented vomit washed from the bleachers.