Harry Lambert’s eyes are red. They are not usually red, but today he is afraid that if he doesn’t type 1,000 words by dinnertime something bad will happen. Something always bad is being done to Harry Lambert in his head.
“Sir, someone is at the door”. He ignores the voice, and his neck shaped like a crane, inches closer to the bright screen.
“Sir!” The voice persists, just like it persisted yesterday, standing on the threshold of his study, here in Grosvenor Corner, Apartment 13.
Harry Lambert loves two things the most: His computer and the number 13; he might be an unhappy man but he is not a superstitious one.
Harry Lambert gives out a long suffering sigh. His neck and bones ache, and he has written only 50 words.
“Who is it, Agnes?”
But Agnes is not looking at him anymore, she has moved away from the threshold, her gaze travels across the shiny hall to the tall mahogany door left open.
“I do not understand… he was right there”.
Harry sees her extending her arms towards the open space in front of the door. With a huff he goes back to his chair. He is suddenly very tired and his body feels heavy.
“Agnes, if you please tell me what did this gentleman who you said was standing outside the door, want?”
Agnes has gone pale; she covers one hand with her mouth and looks at the door again.
“Sir” Her chest rises up and down; she sounds like a person who is slowly drowning. “A map, he said you got it”. Agnes then reaches into the pocket of her apron and pulls out a piece of paper. She lays it on his desk next to him.
Harry rolls his eyes and snatches the paper while hitching his glasses higher on his sweaty nose.
When You Remember
Harry Lambert age 10-Many years ago
Harry Lambert’s knees are itchy from the sting nettles. He absentmindedly scratches them, his eyes towards the clear sky; a vast clear blue sea dotted with white specks of clouds, overhead. The day is hot, too hot and in Harry’s brain a, fog is building up. Sweat now is coming down his neck and he is wheezing.
I should have listened to mother. Mother is always right.
He stops walking and looks up and down the dirt path, flanked on one side with trees, and on the other side is a wooden fence. Harry considers jumping over it; maybe it’s a shortcut to home?
But then his gaze stops at the assemblage of tall trees up head, and his heart sinks, mixed in with another unidentified feeling, which dulls his bones. His breath comes quicker, and then the feeling becomes apparent. Harry starts crying, because he realizes he doesn’t know where he is. Nothing seems familiar, and everything is a blur.
Harry starts to run; his thin pale legs ache with every step. His tears are falling freely now, and he starts to scream, his arms flapping at his sides.
Harry looks at the screen, removes his spectacles then rubs his eyes. The letter A falls out from the keypad, and lands with a small click to the side. He looks at it for a while, and then looks back at the screen, with an impish smile on his face. He repositions himself and starts to type.
That’s it. It begins with a train.
Harry aged 26-Older and very much in love with Alcmene
The train pulled out and Harry settled in his warm from the sun seat. He looked at Alcmene who looked back at him; her blue eyes an ocean of calm and desire, and her red hair a fire dancing in the sun. Its sweet flames tickled the back of his throat and he joined his hands with hers. Then their lips.
“Don’t go back to Greece” He says in between kisses. “Stay… forever”.
A shadow steps into the sun, and into Harry’s view. Pulling away, he turned his gaze to the window. His heart thudded in his chest. To this day he remembers the sound, the beating of the drum in his ears.
“Did you see that?”
“What?” Alcmene followed his gaze but there was nothing. Harry turned to Alcmene, his eyes frantic. A distant memory surfaces in his head, along with a throbbing headache.
“Cloaked in darkness”. His words are muffled under the palms of his hands.
In a rush, he is on his feet; his mind telling his body that he should move. Alcmene stands up as well.
“Wherever you go, I go”.
“Alcmene is a faded memory now. She stayed longer… for me. Then she faded… maybe she wasn’t there after all”. The distant traffic sounds are subdued in the afternoon lethargy. Harry looks down, avoiding eye contact with Dr Myles. Dr Myles can see right through him.
“Tell me what happened later. After the train”. That’s the great think about shrinks, Harry thought, they do not get thrown off course by their patient’s odd behaviors.
Dr. Myles looks at him, his blue eyes unflinching, over his bushy white beard.
“We followed the shadow”.
“You told me you said something that day. What does it mean to you?”
“Yes” Harry licks his dry lips. “I said, cloaked in darkness, the figure seemed wrapped in black”.
“A man or woman?”
“Could have been anything. We stepped off the train. I was sweating and scared by then, I remember feeling that way in the past, so scared. We walked, well half ran, Alcmene tried to take my hand but I wouldn’t let her. She didn’t feel real anymore… and I needed to see…”
“Harry, try to remember, and tell me why didn’t Alcmene feel real?”
“I don’t know. It was all very blurry and fuzzy”.
“You loved her”.
“Yes. Very much. But at that moment… it was like I was alone”. Tears start to trail from his eyes. “Then I saw the figure, in front of the trees”.
Later, Harry takes his tired body home, and he does not even realize it until he is nose to nose with Agnes.
“Sir, I need to show you something”.
They walk into this study. The cold sweat comes back again, his heart threatening to beat out of his chest.
“Sir, I didn’t touch it, I swear”.
The bright screen mocks him
“Agnes, who was in here?”
“No one I swear, sir”.
Harry, do you remember the trees?
A memory; the color red dotted among the trees
Harry Lambert sinks to the floor, his mouth opens in a silent scream.
The time is 6 in the evening, and he was written 10 new words.