Sis amplexibus Amor alios mututa memini et amoris in mutationes memini.
May you be embraced by a love beyond recall that alters others
and a love within recall that alters you.
He arrived at his Dad’s office a few minutes after five. Della, his Dad’s secretary, sent him right in.
“Sorry. Got delayed at the shoe store.” Harris held up the bag bulging with his purchases.
“You and your mother. Better shoes than comic books though.”
“Dad I haven’t bought those since I went to U. of T. And I do what mother taught me. Something new means something old goes out. What’s up?”
“A couple of things. Your mother and I were talking about the …. curse …. One of my great grands once found something about it in his grand’s papers.”
“So we’re talking how many generations back now. If I follow this chain correctly …. ” Harris counted them on his fingers. “You 1, your dad 2, his dad 3, his dad 4, the dad that didn’t tell 5, his dad 6. Or is that 7? All with a fatal attraction syndrome. We going back like five hundred years here? Did they have paper that far back.”
“Harris, I’m trying to helpful. If we can track it down maybe there’s information about undoing it. Or at least what caused it.”
“Right. Who would have access those papers.”
“That’s what I’m trying to discover. I have one of my clerks doing the research. Checking out the family tree. Which leads me to the real reason I wanted to see you.”
“Ah, the paternity test. You thinking you aren’t my father?” Harris laughed.
“No.” His father chuckled. “You’ve fallen too close to the tree for that. It’s your cousin we want to check out.”
“Your mother showed me the photos. The resemblance is too strong for him to be only a cousin.”
“Half brother? Well that would make for an interesting twig on the family tree.”
“If he’s mine. But your mother is pretty sure he’s yours.”
“Mine! Cripes! What was I, almost thirteen? Can thirteen years olds make babies.”
“Oh, yes. That much I do know.” He pressed the intercom. “Della, is Park from Drake’s Proof Positive here?”
“Yes, Mr. Stevens. I’ll send him in.”
“Drake’s does all our paternity work. Fast and 100% reliable.”
“Great. How do we get Michael’s DNA?”
“Your mother is working on that.”
Linda wasn’t there when Alex got home. Her clothes and jewelery were gone from the dresser and closet. All her make-up was cleared out of the bathroom. He figured she had gone off to her sister’s to teach him a lesson. Whatever he was glad not deal with her whimpers.
They’d been pretty hot for each other for the first few years though. She was the one who didn’t want more than living together. Marriage wasn’t for her. He was fine with that but if she had wanted he would have tied the knot. Now he was glad he hadn’t.
Alex found it hard to drop off. His visit with Harris kept turning over in his mind. He expected that all he had to do was flash his body and his dick and Harris would be all over him like any fag in heat. But instead Harris had pushed him away. Claimed he wasn’t gay either. Alex doubted that. The guy was way overweight, needed a decent hair cut and was a slob. No woman would be attracted unless she saw Harris as a fixer upper.
It might have gone better if he had shown a particle of the interest in Harris that he expected Harris to show in him. He’d watched that gay porn and knew what went on once things got started but he saw those things being done to him not him doing them – Harris sucking him off, him flipping Harris over to fuck him.
He tossed and turned trying to get his mind around his attraction for Harris, why didn’t it work like his attraction for Linda. She was always eager for him. Not in a passive way either. His always made sure she got off as much as he did. Was he willing to see that Harris got off too. If a hand job would do the trick then he would go that far.
Next time he would not get out of his clothes as quickly, but it wasn’t his plan to get drenched, so that he had to change into dry clothes. Too bad Harris’s clothes were fucking huge. He didn’t much chance get to show off his assets. Tried to, but Harris kept looking away. At least he managed one good display of the goods.
Recalling the kiss and shove off the elevator he drifted to sleep.
He woke when something was being pushed on his face, smothering him.
“What the fu …” he shoved the something away.
“So that’s what she smells like.” Linda had the shorts and tee shirt he’d been wearing yesterday. “Fucker. I knew there was someone else, again. I can smell her.”
“Nah Baby I told ya der isn’t anyone else. I … got wet in th’ rain and had ta toss ‘em in the dryer at the laund’mat. That’s dryer smell.”
“That isn’t no goddam laundromat dryer smell. I know that smell. Nothing we ever dried down there smelled like that.” She threw the clothes at the wall.
“I din’ say it was the one we go ta.” He got out of bed, took the shorts and tee she had thrown and put them on. He went to the bathroom to pee.
“Oh right.” she followed him. “I suppose you stood there in front of a dryer on the other side of town in your undies, even this jumbo tee wouldn’t cover that lying ass of your. This is her’s too, isn’t it? You brought her here!!”
She had him. The tee was the one Harris had let him wear. He didn’t have time to change out of it when Harris hurried him out of his place.
“I’ve had it. You whoring around all the time. With sluts in the alley at Story.”
“Oh yeah, I know all about that.”
“Cally’s spying on me. Christ …”
“She’s looking out for you. And me. How long has it been now? Four years five. I gave up my place to move into this east-end second-story crap box with you. How many sluts has their been?”
“I could ask ya the same.”
“You asshole. I might not mind it as much if you weren’t such a lousy liar. It’s not as if you don’t get enough here. You’re like every man. Just like my Dad. All another woman has to do smile and you spring into action.”
He put a bagel into the toaster.
“This is the last fucking last time. I’ve got a new place. Lined it up last week in fact. I’ll be out of here by Wednesday.”
He buttered his bagel. Got ginger marmalade dipped the bagel in and ate it.
“Aren’t you going to say anything.”
“Ya want me t’get ya boxes from th’ supermarket?”
“Boxes.” she flew into a rage. “I’ll give you fucking boxes.” She rushed him and began hitting him on the shoulders and head. “You heartless cunt.”
If she wanted out and she could have it. The less he resisted the faster and easier it would be. Part of him knew she wanted an apology but that wasn’t going to happen.
She stepped back to swing at him. He automatically blocked her hand and restrained himself before he could follow through with a jab of his own. He pushed her away. She went to the bedroom.
He finished his bagel listening to her pull drawers out and slam them back in.
She tugged a suitcase with squeaky wheels out of their bedroom. She could barely lift it.
“Want me ta take that for ya?”
“I can fucking manage. Try not to be here when I come back for the rest of my stuff.”
“Oh shut the fuck up. And don’t worry I won’t mess with your goddam trophies or bleach your clothes while you’re out.”
She stood in the open doorway looking at him.
“What?” He knew this was the moment to reassure her, to back down so she could …. what …. forgive him. He stood and pulled his shorts down and held his cock and balls in the palm of his hand. “You want one last ride?”
“Thank God I’m not as stupid as you.”
She slammed the door behind her. He could hear the bump of her suitcase as she dragged down the two flights of stairs to the street.
He sniffed the tee shirts to see if he could smell a difference. His cell rang. What did she want how?
“Alex. It’s Tyler. Look I can’t do my beginners class today. Can you keep an eye on them.”
“What time? I have my own bunch at 3.”
“It’s at noon. The standard bunch of business guys escaping work to take it on each other and not their bosses.”
“Or girlfriends. Sure I can do that.”
Noon. That gave home a couple of hours to get ready. He showered and walked around his apartment drying off, looking at how much of it was his, how much was Linda’s. A lot of it was hers, the woman’s touch. It would be good to get back to simple living. What she didn’t take he’d drag to the curb. Pickers would scoop it up overnight and he would be free of her. That wasn’t a bad thing.
Would Harris like his place? Why the fuck why was he considering that. When he got to the kick boxing school he immersed himself in the classes. Focus was critical and the focus took him out of himself and back to the momentum of aim contact duck deek roll.
After his kick-box classes Alex went down to the boardwalk at the Beach. He used to go there with his Pops. He bought a hot-dog and piled on relish and mustard. Something Linda hated to see him do. The vendor wagons were germ pits. How could he trust the meat. He walked along the Goodman Trail and found a spot on the point that was far away from the volleyball players, away from the dogs, children, away from everything.
He clambered on the rocks on the shoreline where he could sit with his bare feet in the water. Was the water safe? He didn’t care. It was wet and cool.
Too much to figure out and no one he felt he could talk to. Definitely not Linda. The blow out they had made that very clear. If she couldn’t have things the way she wanted, the way they’d always been, then she didn’t want him at all. That she could throw away their four years together made him willing to let go of them too.
He was tempted at the time to spit out the truth to shut her up. But he didn’t know what that truth was. Cursed into being a queer? It was like being told he was now black when he could see that he was white.
He had run around yesterday in a rain storm. Got soaked. All for a fat guy he was obsessed with but who didn’t desire him. A guy who claimed to be as straight as Alex yet played this ‘come’ ‘now go’ routine with him.
Linda no longer appealed to him. She could tell. She could smell that other’s hands had been on him. Even the rain didn’t wash that off. What it did wash off was that the hands belonged to a man, not a woman. All because of a curse?
A wind blew across the lake carrying the shouts of the volley ball players. Then silence.
He dried his feet and put his socks and shoes back on. An ice cream would help.
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