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.
“My mother calls it acting out. I’d been caught with my pants down more than few times at school. Incorrigible is what the teachers called it. But I never could remember what I had done. What’s up with that? She sent me to a shrink.”
Harris glanced around for his shoulder bag with the Tobias pages in it. He’d left it downstairs.
“Dr. Findly suggested I was trying to express a need for female attention that I wasn’t getting at home. Rather than take meds for my need for attention I got into acting where I could get lots of attention. My mom figured instead of acting out for free I could channel that into acting out for money.”
“Did that help?”
“Sort of. My looks, not my acting ability, got me cast in Mirror Mind. Good thing it’s a five book series. I usually have handlers with me when I’m in public so no one gets close enough for me to say no. ”
“I think I might be able to explain some of this.”
“The fatal attraction we Steven’s have had for generations.”
“You mean its genetic?”
“Not exactly. Let’s go down and talk to my Dad. Where’s your Mom by the way?”
“At a coffee shop awaiting my call. She didn’t want to come with me. Dropped me off at the door and drove off with Blake. Oh, Blake’s my manager, body-guard and no-sayer. Single handedly keeps me from acting out.”
They pounded down the stairs and into the kitchen.
“There’s nothing like sound of happy feet on the stairway.” His mother had the table set for brunch. “Brought back memories of Harris coming and going. Except he did trip over his feet more than once with his nose in a comic book.”
“That’s sure a lot food Mrs Stevens.” Marshall sat and grabbed for plate of waffles. “Best to get these while they are hot, right? It’s a good thing my Mum isn’t here. She’d never let me eat half of this and I intend to try everything.”
Besides waffles there were plates of sausages, bacon, ham, french toast, plain toast, scrambled eggs and fresh baked croissants. Between those plates were jars of marmalade, jam, and peanut butter.
“Now you can see why I’ve never lost my baby fat.” Harris joked.
“You were going to explain about our fatal attraction.”
“You told him?” Harris’s Dad stopped spreading his toast.
“No. He doesn’t know yet. He’s had the same things happen as have happened to me. Like with Aunt Clara not remembering. ”
“You too Mr. S?” Marshall looked up at Harris’s dad.
“Yes. But not for many years.”
“So what is it?”
Harris’s Dad went to the living room and came back with a folder.
“These are photocopies of journal kept by Tobias Stevens. Late 1700’s.” Harris’s Dad quickly explained the history of the curse.
“That’s fucked. Sorry Mrs. S.”
“That’s what I thought, too, Marshall.” Harris pushed his chair away from the table. “But once I knew, became aware. It happened. I’ve seen the evidence.” He told them about seeing the security footage of him and Frances meeting. That Frances didn’t remember it either.
“Now that’d make a great movie.”
“Sure Marshall but this is our real life. We know how it came into the family. I wonder if there’s way of breaking it.” Harris wiped his face with a napkin.
“Why would you want to break it? You could harness it somehow. That’s what I’ve done. Making movies.”
They went into the living room.
“Could be.” Harris’s father nodded. “But you can’t control your fans, can you? You need handlers, body guards in public. Sounds like the curse has harnessed you and not the other way around.”
“So that’s why Mum didn’t want to come in.” He snapped his fingers. “She’d be caught in the aura of three cursed men. I wonder what that would do to her.”
“Look, I know what one of us can do to one person. That’s enough for me.” Harris laughed.
Marshall’s cell rang.
“Blake checking in to make sure I’m okay.” he answered it. “Hi Blake …. Yes they’re pretty cool people … no …. no problems … yes I know I have that interview in an hour …. yeah come and get me in twenty …. put Mum on …. hey Mum you gotta come in this time say Hello …. whatever …. see you in twenty.” He shut the phone. “You don’t mind. She’d like to say hello and …”
“See if bygones are bygones?” Harris’s Mom wiped away some tears. “I think we’re all ready.”
“How do we break the spell?” Marshall asked.
“I don’t know if we can.” Harris thought moment. “I’ve seen an … expert … she says this isn’t meant to be a curse but a blessing. To bring love into life isn’t such a bad thing, is it?”
“Yeah, but this is … invasive … acting on us instead of with or even for us. What about the other people; the ones who fall for us.” Marshall paced the room.
“He’s right there Harris. It certainly didn’t do your Aunt Clara any favours. Pulled us apart.” His mother said.
“Then again maybe to break the spell isn’t the solution. You know like what happened in the end of Shatter – Mirror Mind Two. You have seen it haven’t you?”
“It’s been awhile.” Harris saw it when it was released two years ago but hadn’t bothered to watch the copies his mother had given him. “You’re releasing Spectrum – Mirror Mind Four this week. That’s a lot to remember.”
“Right. In the end of Shatter Calopae breaks the mirror, anticipating that’ll free us all of its hold on us.”
“Right, I remember now. But it doesn’t work.”
“It half works but when I go to a mirror.”
“You cast no reflection?” Harris’s mother suggested.
“Not exactly Mom. He’s there but he’s not there. We see his shape but there’s no features, no substance.”
“Right. I only had a physical self when reflect by the right mirror.”
“You’re saying that the Harris curse is what gives us a sense of who we are. That it defined us without knowing about it?”
“An interesting theory. How will breaking it affect me? Your Dad? Will your parents fall out of love?”
“I don’t know. I’m … tired of dealing with all this. I’d be as happy to forget it as get rid of it.”
“Knowing is as bad as the curse itself?”
“I guess so Dad. Tobias did pretty well for himself without knowing about it didn’t he.”
“He moved from town to town.”
“What did you do in part three?” Harris asked Marshall.
“In Resurface I accepted that I’d never see myself clearly again in any mirror but that the reward was that I’d never be trapped by one again either. That way I could start to free the others. By the end I didn’t exist to myself except as this blur in the mirror. I lost all sense of my body though others saw me. Usually shirtless for some reason. It’s a fantasy movie not a how to documentary on breaking a spell.”
A dark blue SUV pulled up and honked.
“That’s for me.” He opened the door and beckoned for his mother to come in to the house.
The window wound down and her head briefly appeared shaking no.
“Guess not today. I tried.” He pulled Harris out to the front steps. “Look dude I don’t want to seem so flash about meeting you. I’ve had one Da all these years. I’m not looking to replace him but well, you and I, we’re connected. We have to build on that.”
“Beside keeping it from the press you mean?” Harris didn’t want to joke but he didn’t know what to say. “I’ve only been a father for the past hour or so. You have my number?” He gave Marshall his dE.tail business card. “Call me before you leave town if you have a chance, son.”
Marshall tucked the card into his pocket and dashed to the SUV.
The word ‘son’ made Harris weak in the knees. Weaker than when he realized he did have feelings for Alex even though he didn’t know what those feelings were or if he could ever express them.
In the house he glanced at himself in the hallway full length mirror. He was big. Funny when he didn’t see his reflection he forgot all about his body. About his size. He was more like Marshall’s Mirror Mind character than he’d expected. A man with no sense of self except as some sort of reflection.
That old Who song came into his head. ‘Can you see the real me. Can you?’ Only for him the lyric was Can I see the real me? Can I? or was the actual question do I want to see the real me? Is there a real me to see? If there’s a real me do I want to see it?
*43 Sunday afternoon*
When Harris got home from his folks he found the Mirror Mind cds still the bag his mother had given him a few weeks earlier. They could be more compelling now that he had met Marshall. He put Mirror Mind 1: Mist Shapen into his dvd player and watched it.
It was pretty much as he remembered. Sullen and generically attractive actors mumbling about their sense of self, purpose and unhappiness to fluttery songs by tentative but tearful male or female vocalists that forced more emotion into the morose dialogue than was there. What he didn’t notice before was how much flesh was on display. He supposed that’s what really sold the movies – safe male flesh for young females to imagine rescuing from nicely back lit sadness with their pure love.
It was unsettling to see Marshall, who for reason’s known to marketing, only wore a towel in several scenes, wrestle with another nearly naked actor. It was like seeing his Dad naked. He wanted to turn away.
By the end of the Mist Shapen he’d seen enough for one day. Mirror Mind 2: Shatter Day could wait for another day.
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