From a stage, across a crowded room, in the midst of beautiful music, Mrs. Thornton and Captain Lee connect ... to startling results!
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, day 43, day 44, day 44.5, day 45, day 46, day 46.33, day 46.67, day 47, day 47.5, and day 48!
Captain Lee waved demurely and tipped his Fedora as he was applauded again, and Mrs. Thornton's heart just melted … he looked a little shy and a little nervous, although gorgeous in his loose-fitting summer suit and hat. A truly civilian activity in public … he had to relearn all of that, although he was clearly a master performer, and master performers re-learned by doing … he settled in and got comfortable over the course of the evening, playing well and rolling with all the performance hijinks of the night, although nothing compared with him being stood on his head as a starter!
Of course there were the slower moments, sweet slow love songs beautifully and sensitively played … Mrs. Thornton noticed that the two eldest Lees clasped their hands together as they watched their grandson close his eyes before his solos and play with abandon, expressing heights of emotion that everyone could feel. He did not disclose the meaning to everyone, for there were no specific words … but on one, as he closed and passed the solo time to Gary, his dark eyes opened up and sought for his love … and Mrs. Thornton met the unmistakable eloquence of that look, and looked back, unafraid and welcoming. Captain Lee's following solo was so extraordinary that John had the stage lights cut on him and Gary for ten minutes and just let the new man play out of his bursting heart, while the tip jar was filled to overflowing...
Where did the time go? Captain Lee would never be able to make an accounting for it; it was 9:15 and he was off-stage with John and Gary while the applause continued behind them, and John was saying, “Now, Harry, you've been holding back on us … we knew you could play, but we didn't know you had all that in you.”
“Neither did I,” Captain Lee said. “Thank you for this opportunity today to work with y'all, or I never would have known it.”
“You had some sort of vision on stage,” Gary said. “You were with us completely, but at the same time, in another realm of being. Very few performers are ever granted what happened to you tonight.”
Captain Lee recalled how Mrs. Thornton met his gaze, and how her eyes had told him everything he had desperately needed to know about her heart towards him.
“You are right, Gary. I was blessed.”
“And you blessed the house, and us – we filled that tip jar twice, and, with what we were paid to be here, that takes care of the studio costs completely,” John said. “We will not need to have any out of pocket expenses, and will be able to get a nice, big dinner, with take-home boxes, afterward.”
“That reminds us,” Gary said. “Time to go pass out our cards so people know about our next album release, and to thank our neighbors in particular. But not you, Harry – you've already worked the room, and you are drained.”
Captain Lee did feel a little weak, although he was surprised that Gary had noticed.
“You had a vision, friend,” Gary said gently. “Cherish and preserve it. Don't bother to go see the silliness of the public, because you will be mobbed. You're not used to all that yet, so let John and I handle that, and go recharge with your loved ones.”
20 minutes later, Captain Lee and his family and friends had slipped out, taking Gary's advice, and had gone over the Wide Eyes Diner for dessert. At the Wide Eyes Diner, Horace Fitzhugh Lee had seen enough to be directing traffic. Quite subtly, but with definite authority, he had arranged matters to make sure Captain Lee and Mrs. Thornton were sitting across from each other, where they could gaze across at the other and talk and keep the connection going … at the end, when Captain Lee had gone to pay the check and his grandfather had handed him money to put on the bill, there also was a note: “Grandma and I give our initial approval. PURSUE.”
“Was the food that good?” the waitress who rung Captain Lee up said as she noticed he could scarcely count his money for the tears coming out of his eyes.
“Y'all don't even know how good it was today,” he said. “This is the best meal I've eaten in 27 years.”
And he wrapped his family's portion of the tip – a generous $20 – around his personal portion: $200, making a total of $220 tip that he handed to the waitress who had served his family and helped the night come to a great close. Sometime that night, when she got off shift, she would feel something of what Captain Lee himself felt: overwhelmingly blessed, and loved.
11:00pm – the Lees had taken a room in town and so went to it for the night, and the residents of the Rosewood Apartments likewise went home. Captain Lee walked the two ladies to their apartment as they thanked him profusely for getting them tickets, and said good night to them. Mrs. Bell went away from the door still caroling melodies she had heard … since the door did not close, Captain Lee turned around and saw Mrs. Thornton still looking after him, that look of willingness still on her face.
“Thank you for coming, Mrs. Thornton,” he said softly.
“Thank you for inviting me, Captain,” she said softly. “If you should have any other invitations for me, let me know.”
“I most certainly will, Mrs. Thornton.”