Fran’s Thoughts

Lilly could be such a venomous bitch! The problem with Maurice and her money was not Fran’s fault. He’d tricked her, saying that her house would be used for collateral to expand his plumbing business. Fran loved him. Of course she transferred the title, that’s what married people did. Not Lilly.

Lilly treated every situation like a damn transaction. It had taken her nearly two decades to start filing married on her tax returns for the love of god! Fran didn’t know how Neil stood her yet he did. It was obvious that he was as smitten now as he was in the beginning. Lilly was a fine one to point fingers about affairs and sex. In her twenties she’d been quite the girl. She was happily married now; however, she’d had more than one ride on that carousel too!

Fran knew who Lilly was. Her family moved back to town after her mother’s marriage failed and her father, the original deadbeat dad, left her mother with all those kids to support, the youngest ones not yet potty trained. Lilly was a misfit. She was awkward. Her bedroom was plain and she didn’t have a single Barbie. Instead, she had books that she lent out like a librarian.

Fran was a Thaxter with all the implied prominence and responsibility. Lilly was her first social cause. Her mother forced Fran to include Lilly in her group. When Fran was prom queen, Fran’s mother insisted that she lobby her friends to include Lilly in her court. Lilly, nerd that she was, refused to be part of it, saying she didn’t want to perpetuate women’s subjugation. She wasn’t interested in being popular. Oddly, Lilly was popular. She was the girl others confided in; the girl most likely to get birth control pills for her friends and the girl who knew how and where to terminate a pregnancy. Lilly took care of things and she didn’t mind doing it. If you told her a secret, she kept it.

Lilly had good points, which gave her no right to lecture Fran, no right at all. How was Fran to know that all men were basically the same? Greg had loved her. He was ordinary, happy to go along to get along. Every day was the same as the day before and the same as the day to come. He got up and had breakfast, the same boring granola with one cup of coffee, every morning. Showered, brushed and flossed, he headed out the door to work at 6:30 each day, no deviation, ever. He returned in the evening, drank a beer and read the paper, talked only of facts and never speculated about anything. He had no dreams beyond his home and family. The predictable domestic routine made Fran want to crawl out of her skin.

Lilly was mean and rude about Woody. As though Fran failed to notice that Woody had let himself go. Fran was not the blind one, after all. Woody understood her. If she hadn’t been so mad at him, that she’d hurled his promise ring off the cliff and into the drink at Sunset Cove, they would have been married and things would have been much different. Mae Lee had no idea who Woody was; she’d never seen his potential. The poor thing  didn’t even suspect.

Lilly warned her about Maurice from the beginning. She didn’t trust him. Lilly was right. Fran didn’t know how someone, who was so socially inept, could recognize people for who they were. Lilly was too direct. She refused to waste her precious time on social niceties. If she didn’t like someone she wouldn’t lower her standards, under any conditions. Fran had been mortified the time that Lilly refused to shake the mayor’s hand, in front of the press, at the annual Booby Ball. The ball had been Lilly’s idea and a reaction to Fran’s breast cancer. Lilly was more than just her cousin.

Fran had been between husbands when she found the lump. She’d called Lilly first thing. Lilly hadn’t hesitated for a second. She’d held Frannie’s hand through the whole ordeal. She and Neil had moved into her house so that Lexie’s schedule wouldn’t be disrupted. When her work had been less than supportive, Lilly had quit, on the spot, told them to cram that servile little job. Fran had no health insurance so Lilly took care of all the paperwork for her. She’d stayed many nights at Fran’s hospital bedside when things had been the worst.

Lilly didn’t know that Fran knew the battles she’d fought for her. An unsuspecting nurse had mentioned Fran’s charity care status; Lilly went off like a rocket. She’d dressed that nurse down in a hissing rant in the hall outside Fran’s room.  She told her that the hospital would have closed its doors, decades ago, if not for Thaxter money. There would be no nursing jobs, where the staff was clearly not busy enough, if not for the Thaxter legacy. She went on to say that while the hospital was in sound financial condition, it certainly wasn’t Fran’s fault that the estate trustee had robbed the heirs of their inheritance. Fran had heard the whole thing. She’d cried to hear Lilly defend her.

Lilly was a venomous bitch. She was also Frannie’s dearest friend. Fran knew that she had erupted from worry. She forgave her.

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About elroyjones

Married, no children, responsibly self-directed, living happily.
This entry was posted in Autonomy and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Fran’s Thoughts

  1. You had me at ‘venomous bitch’!!!

  2. I think it’s an open question whether seeing and talking to one rabbit or having an entire studio audience talking to you from inside your head (along with Fran and Lilly) is scarier. Are the voices chanting “Novel! Novel!” yet?

    • elroyjones says:

      The problem with a novel is, as you know, that I will leave the tangible world to take up residence with the characters for the duration. The other problem is I’m not so sure there is a novel/novella in the story. I know how it ends but I don’t know that there is enough between here and there to make it count. Did you think any of it was funny?
      I sent the studio audience packing when they threatened to break out pitchforks, far more dangerous than the unwieldy oar.

      • Funny? Oh my yes. No “I laughed so hard I peed my pants” moments which are so often funny just to the writer and the writer’s drinking friends, but good subtle intelligent humor throughout (as in all of your writing). Whether it’s a result of character or the turning of a phrase (which you do so deliciously that we want to take an oar to you), it’s there. Do as Tim says, hold on to it, maybe add to it when the studio audience dictates. It will eventually rise to conquer.

      • elroyjones says:

        Oh good. There were things that gave me a sardonic little chuckle so I hoped that translated to the reader. I’ll keep Fran and Lilly. I may post more of them because the potential for trouble is irresistible. You wouldn’t have expected anything less than trouble. Thanks VERY MUCH for your opinion.

  3. “treated every situation like a damn transaction” made me smile. 🙂 A venomous bitch but her dearest friend… I like that.

    Good stuff going on here.

    How’s that for brilliant literary analysis?

    • elroyjones says:

      Thank you, Tim. YOU made me smile. Female friendships are an oxymoron, delicately resilient. I like this little story, which, as you know, just appeared from nowhere. As I told Daybell, I don’t have the time to immerse myself in it to see where it goes.

      • I would never claim to understand ANYTHING about females, let alone relationships. 😉

        The story’s got legs. Hold it in your head, or your heart, or wherever you keep such stuff.

        Times change. Taxes get done. You can come back to it.

  4. John says:

    this is much more interesting than watching “All My Children” every day….

  5. sacha1nch1 says:

    well i’m just glad there was a mention of a tax return….
    the socially inept bit was good; a perfectly concise depiction of an entire personality

  6. George says:

    Whoops, there was more . . .

    Again, great job! You know I love your stories!

  7. elroyjones says:

    We may hear more from those two.

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