Captain Lee spends a sad evening thinking of his mother's family ...
To get totally caught up on The Posture of Innocence, here are the prologue, day 1, day 2, day 3, day 3.5, day 4, day 4.5, day 5, day 5.5, day 6, day 7, day 7.5, day 8, day 9, day 9.5, day 10, day 10.5, day 11, day 11.5, day 12, day 12.5, day 13, day 13.5, day 14, day 15, day 16, day 16.5, day 17, day 18, day 19, day 19.5, day 20, day 20.5, day 21, day 22, day 22.5, day 23, day 23.5, day 24, day 24.5, day 25, day 25.5, day 26, day 26.5, day 27, day 27.5, day 28, day 28.5, day 29, day 29.5, day 30, day 30.5, day 31, day 31.5, day 32, day 32.5, day 33, day 33.5, day 34, day 34.5, day 35, day 35.5, day 36, day 36.5, day 37, day 37.5, day 38, day 38.5, day 39, day 39.5, day 40, day 40.5, day 41, day 41.5, day 42, day 42.5, and day 43!
By 9:30, Captain Lee was at home practicing for his appearance next day with Tricolor Sounds, but not doing as well as he would like – his playing was competent, but the freedom and joy was gone. He stopped, and then decided to change clothes and go for a run.
The evening felt a lot like Captain Lee's mindset … a hot, close evening with a lazy, hot wind blowing through the streets of Big Loft that had things moving but cooled and refreshed nothing.
Captain Lee knew what was bothering him. Mr. Black had helped him stay calm while talking with his cousin Alexis, and he had played it calm for the rest of the day, but he was deeply disturbed. Cousin Alexis had thrown all the old insults back at him around his marriage to Vanessa Morton – as if 27 years had not passed, and the family was still stuck on stupid. Obviously, neither Vanessa nor her son Henry Victor had inherited – Captain Lee alone survived of the family he had made and lost. It was not that the hatred was expected to fade, but that the resentment had increased had been a terrible surprise.
Then, it hit Captain Lee … of course Cousin Alexis, and the rest, had not grown one bit in 27 years. That was the price they had to have paid for staying under Selene Slocum-Lofton's thumb, while by contrast he had never given her power over him for a moment. He was too much like Hiram Lee, who had outwitted his mother-in-law … and Horace Fitzhugh Lee, who had withstood her attack … and had proven himself too much like Uncle General in deadliness to be actually assailable. Not even Selene Slocum-Lofton took those kinds of chances, so certainly her thoroughly dominated nephews had no chance at all. All they had was their resentment to show for their living in the ample, vigor-robbing lap of luxury around their Aunt Selene and the women like her that she had pushed them into marrying … while he had married the woman of his choice, defying them all.
Captain Lee allowed himself this time of sorrow and compassion for the plight of Cousin Alexis and the rest … past 50, past 60, and having chosen never to be full-blown men. He wondered, in retrospect, what it must have been like for Vanessa's ancestors to have been held in cruel bondage to the type of petty people so much of his own family had matured into, and this caused him an even deeper wave of sorrow.
“You took her to her rest, Lord,” Captain Lee said as his tears flowed as he remembered his wife's beautiful young face in sorrow over having to leave her home county in order to reach her potential, “but You left me here to fight – and Lord, I will fight to my last breath!”
Captain Lee's walk had taken him to a boxing gym that was open until midnight. He was in his jogging clothes, but that was all right – he beat the punching bag right down before it was all over.
“If that's his practice,” one man said to another as the bag ruptured and ripped and fell off the chain, “I'd hate to see what he does for a living.”
“Hate to see it?” said the other man. “I'd hate to do that job!”
Captain Lee repaid the owner of the gym on the spot for the bag, of course, ran home, took a hot shower, and went right to sleep.