All Bedlam Courses Past (part eighty)

Posted by ractrose on 3 Oct 2023 in Fiction, Novels

Pastel drawing of bird flying away from bonfire






All Bedlam Courses Past


Chapter Three
An Object in Motion
(part eighty)







No irony here. “I was travelling, the clothes. You know I was. You could have come.”

“I certainly could not have. And we don’t need that tone of voice.”

Should I have passed Shad a note?

No, getting worse. “Why not…”

“For a very good reason. Which hardly needs spelling out. I’m a little tired, Luce, of hearing you’ve been off doing what you have common sense enough not to.”

At times she was certain her parents had their information.

But they struck the attitude. They persisted, at not knowing what they knew. That Eugene paid her. That what she did for him was her living. He paid her, she earned a wage, and if that took her down a notch in status—

Well, who were the Gremots, anyway?

She did not pretend she wasn’t a guest in her father’s apartment. The hotel sent meals and charged them to his bill; the bills came to Mother’s desk. The trail of evidence, of their daughter’s town life itemized, sat recorded in Mother’s books.

But money your own to spend, too much to be spending? Was it their business? Did they do this, count pennies? Rather see the apartment sit empty? Want rent?

Without the nausea, she might have blurted and paid the price. She might have done more than dab at her eyes…with the table napkin.

“Luce! Where is your handkerchief?”

“I have a headache!”


I am an old maid, she told herself. The ice bag was under her neck, the bed-curtains drawn, the light under the canopy grey. The day lingered, and the house was still awake. Meaning the dread of Sarah with a tonic, or…

Mother, with a resigned bit of extra argument. Sitting on the foot of the bed. Using a tone of voice her daughter disliked.

I am twenty-one years old. I am probably never going to be married.

No gloom here, not even a thing you’d count—if allowed time in life to please yourself. Consider Edith, mated now to Weller.

Consider Polly…

Poor Signorelli. A woman in love, learning his language as a secret surprise. An unfolded letter, casual on his desk, his mother’s dictation to a young cousin…

Who, since Zia wouldn’t know it, apologized (and wrote fuggire in the margin, lightly crossed through). This was what had to be said.







Pastel drawing of bird flying away from bonfireAll Bedlam Courses Past (part eighty-one)















(2023, Stephanie Foster)