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.
Harris worked his jaw. His ribs ached and he could barely swallow.
“I guess I am.” The hoarse whisper of his voice caught him off guard.
Moments later a police car pulled up follwed by an EMT ambulance.
“What happened.” a policeman asked.
“He was attacked by those two.” The man who helped him up pointed to the receding figures of Dave and his mother.
“Here …” Harris shoved the flyer into the officer’s hand. He could hardly talk.
“I saw most of it officer.” The woman who had called piped up. “After all the other assaults around here I called right away. No point in taking any chances. They beat the crap out of this poor man. It could have been me you know.”
“Yes. But…” The officer was looking at the flyer. “You have any knowledge of this, sir?”
“All I know …” Harris swallowed. “Is that somehow they got my picture off Facebook. I don’t know.”
“Do you have any identification.”
Harris gave the officer his wallet. The policeman let the EMT take over.
“That’s probably his phone number on those flyers.” he pointed to several flyers scattered near by.
The EMT quickly checked him over. Gave him oxygen, checked his blood pressure and felt for injuries. The gave him orange juice for the shock. Harris longed for a beer to wet his throat. Not far off he could see the officers talking to Dave and his mother.
“You feeling better, Mr. Stevens?” The officer gave him his wallet back. “Miss Davidson has told us what she saw. It would help if we could get a statement from you, while it’s fresh in your memory. If you are feeling up to it.”
Harris told them as much as he could recall.
“You’ve been most helpful. We’ll call you if we need to know anything more. The man who assaulted you in known to us. We can drive you home.”
“Thanks but my place isn’t too far from here. I’ll stick to lighted side of the street.”
Harris headed home, sore and wondering about the subway assaulter. Were they all sexual. Could this have been the curse at work? He must have met this guy’s fiancee for her to have taken his picture. Right?
As he walked he saw the flyers with his picture and hers on the light poles. He began to tear them down. How many of these had they put up? How many had they given out? Now that they knew who he was, was there reason to leave them up. Would he have to face people pointing him out the street for the rest of the week or what? He stuffed the flyers into a litter box.
When he got back to his condo building he went to the basement storage. He found the cardboard box that he hoped had the pictures of Laura with other stuff from his University of Toronto years. It must be ten years since he’d packed away that stuff.
In his apartment he got himself a beer and sat to go through the box. His back was wet. He went to his room to change his clothes. There was orange pulp and pieces of orange peel along the shoulders of his tee-shirt and the ass of his sweat shorts. Oranges. How the fuck did that get there? He tossed the clothes into the washer hoping the orange didn’t stain.
Before he put on his boxers he checked himself in the mirror. There was a bruise on his lower ribs but his throat looked okay.
“How does the Cyclops of love feel?” he asked aloud to see how his throat moved as he spoke.
Back at the storage box he took out a couple of years books, flipped them open. Slips of papers with names and phone numbers fell out. Mostly women’s first names and numbers but none of them meant anything to him.
Then an album of photos. Him on the steps of Hart House with his parents, him drinking with bunch of guys and gals, him and Trevor pretending to kick box, several of him with girls he didn’t recognize at parties he vaguely remembered. He turned them over to see if there names on them but usually there weren’t. There was one that did.
It was a polaroid of him and a busty red head, arms around each other on a patio. Palm trees in a sunset behind them. He recognized the patio at Casa Della where he had stayed. On a post-it-note on the back he had written: “Aruba – Janet. Don’t forget this one.”
Every couple of years he’d spend a couple of weeks in Aruba soaking up sun booze and women. Apparently he’d been aware of forgetting them.
Finally the picture of Laura he liked. She was standing alone in the light coming through a window. She wore black panties and a bra. He ran his fingers over it, over her hair. Why hadn’t it worked out? The lump in his throat wasn’t from Dave’s manhandling.
He decided to dump the numbers and the photos of faces that meant nothing to him into the recycling bin. No use holding on to the past. As he dropped it in he noticed a card he didn’t recall putting in there. He took it out. It was a wedding invitation – so-and-so invites you to the marriage of Frances Green and …. Frances Green that was the woman in the posters. A phone number had been scrawled on it followed by “Call me – Fran”
Harris put the wedding invitation on the kitchen counter. Had he picked it up on the street? Wishful thinking. She must have given it to him like many other women he’d never remember.
His ribs ached from Dave’s punch. His stomach rumbled to remind him he hadn’t eaten since lunch. He pulled a frozen lasagna out of the freezer and popped it into the microwave. While it was being zapped he took the recyclables to the garbage bins in the basement.
The lasagna was okay after he added a dash of his own spices to it. He had discovered than many things tasted better with a sprinkling of powdered garlic. Once he’d downed that he finished the tub of chocolate peanut butter ice cream that been in the freezer way too long.
He got into bed but the pain in his ribs made it impossible to get comfortable. He made himself a hot cold and flu drink and washed down a couple of extra strength aspirin and within seconds was asleep.
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