33 - Sad memories and caring words.

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Work at the hospital was almost peaceful today which allowed me to head to Harry's house before sunset.

As I approach the building I am assaulted by surprise when noticing the 'closed' sign at the door and the turned off lights. Why would Harry interrupt business before the usual time?

Climbing the lateral stone steps I reach for the copy of the key that was given to me a couple of days ago. Using it usually still gives me a somewhat euphoric and happy feeling but, right now, I am more inclined towards uneasiness due to my lover's unusual behavior.

Inside the house, there is only the habitual comfortable scent of condiments and silence. Harry doesn't seem to have come up from the shop yet.

Taking off my shoes I keep them in my hand while dropping my suitcase and coat on the couch since I am going back down through the trap door on the other side of the house.

On the first floor, I also fail to find Harry. There are is no signs of him at the hall, kitchen or even the storage/laundry room.

Did he go out? As this thought crosses my mind I notice the door in the back wall near the internal stairs. Since it has always been closed I never paid much attention but today the wooden panel is ajar.

With three steps I reach out and cautiously open an inch. What greets me on the other side is a very charming private garden surrounded by tall brick walls covered by ivy. On one side, there are some bulky pots with flowers and what seems to be a short lemon tree. On the other, a pergola covered by wisterias with a two seats wooden swing underneath.

Harry is quietly installed on the bench, slowly swing back and forth; the dying light illuminating his empty face in orange.

As I walk close he turns his head and glances at me with red rimmed and puffy eyes.

"You cried." It is not a question since the fact is evident on his face. "Why?" I sit by his side and try to make his eyes meet mine.

Still looking ahead he puts a trembling smile on his lips, wipe his eyes with his fist and says "Ah, nothing. I am ok." then makes an attempt to stand up.

Holding his wrist I gently but firmly pull him into my lap. As always, he is reluctant but ends up accepting and accommodating himself with his back against my chest. Promptly, I encircle my arms around his waist before he has the chance to change his mind and struggle to get free again. My lover seems to believe that he is too heavy, which is absurd.

With a soothing voice I probe "Harry, you know that I will be a lot more worried if you don't tell me, right?"

He remains silent and with a dejected figure so I persist "Won't you do it for me?"

I am aware that it is not 'playing fair' but I will use any necessary means to make Harry feel better, even if it involves manipulating him.

Sighing in resignation, he explains "Mark's wife came to the shop this afternoon and made a scene in front of some clients."

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