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.
“Can’t be easy.” Harris continued on his way aware that the thought of Alex had changed what was going on here. But why had it been the busboy he remembered and not say …. Laura.
He’d gone a few steps when he nearly walked into his mother.
“What was all that about?” The silver buttons on her brown coat gleamed in the atrium lights.
“She seemed pretty upset. Everyone heard that scream.”
“Yeah, when she saw them.”
“And you didn’t think anything of it. Then again you’ve never been a parent.”
“Not that I know of.” he joked.
They dodged shoppers up the escalator and went into The Rain Restaurant on that level. After a brief wait they were taken to a table. A quick glance at the menu and they both ordered. He asked for the turkey club on dark rye with fries, salad and the soup of the day, Cream of Shataki Mushroom. His mother ordered the soup.
Harris didn’t realize how much stress he had been feeling till the little girl had grabbed his hand. If she was his encounter for the day there wouldn’t be another one. At least that’s how he understood the conditions of the curse. He’d have to talk with his Dad again to see exactly what it was.
“I didn’t get much of chance to talk with you the other day.” His mother stirred cream into her her coffee. “How is work?”
“Good. dE.tail is in the detailing. At least we aren’t going to be out sourced, yet.”
“Your Dad says you talked about Clara?”
The waitress brought their soup and his sandwich.
“Clara. Right, your sister. Yeah we did a bit.”
“That was a long time ago.”
“Yes.” Harris opened his sandwich to dab more mayo on the turkey.
“How did it come up? I mean, why talk about her?”
“We were just talking about why I haven’t settled down. Father son stuff. I guess he thought what happened during his visit effects me still.”
“Does it?” she dabbed the corners of her mouth with her a napkin.
“I don’t know. I don’t think so. I can’t remember what she looked like.”
“When we were growing up she always wanted what I had. Always. My Christmas presents would end up as hers if I didn’t fight for them. My parents never understood why I didn’t want to share. They never asked her to share with me.”
His mother opened her bag and took out several photos and passed them to him. Harris recognized himself in them. In one he was holding a suitcase with a woman standing behind with her hand on his shoulder. They both smiled widely. In others she was standing with either his dad his mother and one with all four of them.
“So that’s Clara.” Harris looked at the face. “In this one of the two of you, you both look very similar.”
“Yes in school people often thought we were twins, though she was a year older than me.”
Harris shuffled through the pictures again. “You hear from her since?”
Harris finished his soup, started in on his sandwich. The Rain Cafe mayo had a nice bite of garlic in it.
“She said she didn’t know what came over her.”
“Right. You sent me over to a neighbours for the night and when I came home for lunch the next day she was gone. She was supposed to stay for ten days and left after four.”
She put the photos back into her bag. “What did Dad say about Clara’s visit?”
“That you caught the two of us, in his words, more than playing house. Then he told me about this fatal attraction that I have.” he laughed.
“Yeah, that unpredicatable people at unpredicatable times might find me hard to resist and that it wasn’t their fault. I didn’t quite get it.”
“He was trying to make an excuse for himself. Something happened between him and Clara too, you know. Something he never admitted to. She had a child within the year after she visited.”
“Michael. cousin Michael. You saying Michael might be more than a cousin.”
“Judge for yourself.” she took another couple of pictures out of her bag.
He looked at them. “These are both pictures of me.”
“One is of you at thirteen the other is of Michael at thirteen.”
“What the … You suspect Dad’s the father.”
“She flirted with him right in front me. Joking that she had to check out what was making me happy.”
“I don’t know what to say. I do have to get back to the office.”
Harris waved the waitress over and paid the bill.
Monday afternoon brought in a simple piece of touch up for Shoeville’s fall online catalogue. He was to re-gleam buckles, soften shadows, attend to the toe cleavage in the strappy party shoes.
When he exited the subway it was like stepping into a tepid wading pool. The air was palpable on his skin. He wished he’d picked up an energy bar to eat on the way from the office but he barely had the energy to carry his shoulder bag. He stood in the shade of the exit, lifted his hair back to cool his neck. The ten minute walk a head of him seemed a marathon. No trees on the way. Bare searing sun. The brochure for the condo had rows of trees all around that made Plaza Place a glass needle in the middle of an enchanted forest.
There was coconut-praline ice-cream in the fridge calling him home. He was breathless when he got to the building. Time to get to gym. He’d told himself when this walk felt too taxing he’d have to start working out to tone up.
The air condition in the lobby snapped him back to his senses. He’d have to get in shape before he went back to any gym. He could get Dusan to recommend some dvd fitness package. Why wasn’t there one that did the work. Trev was always after him to join him with his basketball buds. Options. But not till he really needed them.
As usual the two chador clad women declined to get into the elevator with him. He didn’t know their modesty rules were that strict. If they had one of their husdands with them it was okay.
Harris loved the feeling of stepping into his condo. He could still recall that first time of shutting the door behind him and being in the expansive living room that seemed even larger with the ceiling to floor windows of the balcony. He was glad he had opted for one of the end of floor apartments where the balcony was the widest part of the apartment.
There was space on either side of the door for a bureau. He tried one behind the door but because it kept getting hit when he came in it ended up right where he could put his shoulder bag. For behind the door he hoped to find a coat tree and he supposed if he wanted he could get one of those umbrella stands to to put right in the corner.
The kitchen was furthest from the entrance. He had opted for the enclosed version with doors that lead to the living room and to a small dining area. The bathroom along a short hall to his bedroom. tucked into the bathroom storage was a washer and drier. A washer big enough for two sheets, it seemed. To stay on top of his dirty clothes he’d have to do a load of laundry every other day or spend an entire weekend if he let it go too long.
His apartment was cool. He had remembered to shut the curtains before he left. That kept the afternoon sun out. He shed his clothes as he padded to the fridge, opened the freezer and pulled out a liter of carmel praline and almond crunch ice cream. He popped the lid off and was tempted to plunge his face into it.
He rubbed it down his chest with one hand and grabbed a spoon with the other. It felt good on his cock and balls. He reminded himself that ice cream is for eating not fucking. In this case eating it was better than fucking.
He rinsed the empty tub and dropped it into the recycle bin. Time for real food. But what …. Pizza from Mamma P – yes. He called, they asked for his phone number. He gave it. They asked if he wanted his usual order. He said yes.
His usual order was there within thirty minutes. Large thin crust deluxe with extra cheese and double pepperoni, a side order of the spicy garlic bread and two cans of Brio. Thin crust because Dusan had told him that was the healthier choice.
He flipped through channels on the TV while he worked his way through the pizza. All the same nothing on the tube. If cable wasn’t a part of his condo fees he’d be as happy without it.
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