tagNovels and NovellasLover Come Home Ch. 15

Lover Come Home Ch. 15


Monday night, in bed

Dear V

Drove in early this morning from the lake to get to my temporary job, the trial. The stately manner with which it proceeds, punctuated by long pauses, is beginning to get on my nerves. The lawyers and judges are constantly having little private conversations about what is allowable and what isn't for us delicate jurors to hear. Of course I want to know the stuff they don't let us know.

Why, if we are to decide the fate of the defendant, shouldn't we know everything? How he brushes his teeth might be relevant. And I want to get to ask questions. The lawyers don't ask the right ones. Lady Jane has decided that in her spare time she will try redesigning the justice system. (for new comers, Lady Jane is the letter writer's alter ego). I know the other jurors are frustrated too. We do not know the rules that govern how this most serious game is being played.

I have picked up a copy of "Crime and Punishment." Maybe it can give me some help in the sticky issues of monstrous crime by human beings. I'm having a hard time with this. Forgive (though not necessarily acquit) because they know not what they do or because they are helpless to do otherwise? Or stick with free will and shudder at what someone can conceive of doing?

At lunch with most of the jurors (a couple always go shopping, the men tend to hide), we started up on the Seven Deadly Sins again. I brought them up last week as a sneaky way to discuss some of the issues of the crime without actually getting into the details. The SDS turned out to be too medieval to do the job. But I think some of the jurors got my drift, because they are now trying to invent a modern set of Sins. The old ones just don't seem so sinful anymore.

To make it interesting, we decided to buy lunch for anyone who proposes a SDS that we all can agree on. The maybes go on a list for further discussion.

I couldn't resist suggesting Not-Nice as an all purpose one. To show how jurorish we have become it was not hooted down but considered thoughtfully. Finally discarded because a SDS should not a be negative act. No mind games either, you can think the worst and be sin-free. Action is all. I'm not sure I really believe that.

I also tried Perversion, thinking of the dog buttering story, but no free lunch there either. The word is too tricky for our modern sense of morality. Best definition from one of the jurors, "Anything that is really Yucky."

It is remarks like that one, which I sort of like, that I think keeps the male jurors at bay.

This led to other jurors suggesting Necrophilia and Cannibalism as worthy candidates for SD Sindom. The sweetest looking juror (lace collar and pretty flowered dress, rosy cheeks) shot them down with a faint smile.

"Well, after all, Necrophilia doesn't really hurt any one. And if the person is already dead Cannibalism might save some farm animals from being killed. Good source of free protein too. Think how that would help the starving countries." I couldn't tell whether she was being Jonathan Swift or pronouncing stark common sense. The lines are definitely getting blurred.

After that there was a prolonged silence. But then the hunt for modern sins continued. None have been found yet. The usual suspects are on the list. Violence, Intolerance, etc., but they seem too easy or vapid.

Went swimming afterwards as usual. I have lost four pounds and my arms look larger. Come home and lets arm wrestle. Lets just wrestle. I'll let you win.

After swimming, I had dinner with Michael. Heard more of the story of his breakup. Chas has never been faithful, it turns out, but always discreet. M knew but accepted it. But suddenly, one day (or night) he couldn't anymore. Simple as that.

I always saw that marriage as a very traditional one, regardless of the fact that both are men. M the wife, C the big bread winner. M did everything but cut C's meat for him. Whose meat will he cut now? M needs to love more than he needs to be loved. I don't worry about C at all, though he is the one sent packing. He will always attract someone willing to shoulder the chores.

M's leaving him is brave, and he obviously thinks he must have another sort of life, but he looks terrible. His whole being seems to be sagging and shrinking.

I felt nothing when you left me to return to your marriage. Lady Jane was simply numb, standing in the street with her dog. I went into the house to bed and slept soundly. Exhausted from emotion. The next day all I could do was lie on the sofa watching hopeless TV. The soap operas and talk shows were soothing. All those problems. What a gift those programs are to the truly miserable.

The day after that I went home. Blessed family. They knew something was wrong because D called me in the middle of my soap opera watching and I burst into tears. God bless her. She simply said, "We love you. Come stay with us if you want."

When I got there they said nothing at all. Showed me the guest bedroom, the new towels, the full frig. With cheese and crackers and beer on the porch I told them our story. The suspense would kill them before they would ask why I was crying in the middle of the day.

My dear brother said only, "I always liked him. Can you salvage anything?"

So like him. Laconic and looking to make the best of any situation.

D asked the moral question, "Could you have lived with the consequences had you not stopped when you did?"


I think that shocked her a little. She is married to my brother, any attack on a marriage hits close to home. My brother is more worldly, and this is not his first marriage. His world is more fluid. He has been the "attacker."

To her eternal credit her love for me superseded her feelings of discomfort with my words and acts. She always has something to teach me about love. P is a lucky man as well as my brother.

We never mentioned you or us again. I was a guest who didn't eat or sleep much. Who seemed distracted and sometimes had to try hard not to cry. Lady Jane appeared a few times to save me. Conversation returned to what is normal for us, books, gossip, food, trying to figure out what the clues in the world around us really mean. Life went on. What is that line you like so much?

Wherever you may be, there you are.

Here I am.


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