A Partial Catalog of Harold's Major and Minor Epiphanies | Visual Art | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

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A Partial Catalog of Harold's Major and Minor Epiphanies


Last Updated: 08/13/2013 4:27 pm

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They hadn’t counted on Officer Bronsky making his rounds, cruising slowly through the cemetery at dusk.

How long he stood by the window watching them, they will never know. Just as Harold squirmed and said, “Give me the bottle!” and she raised her face from his lap, Officer Bronsky tapped on the glass with his flashlight. She gasped, they jumped and fumbled with clothing, and Harold groaned as he made a mess on his pants.

The officer’s brusque hand motion constituted an unmistakable command: roll the window down immediately. She reached across Harold and did it.

“This ain’t a motel, folks.”

“We’re a married couple; we’re just...see?” She held up the empty bottle. “We need a sample…” Harold just covered his eyes with his hand.

“This ain’t your bedroom, either. This is a public place. Ever heard of public lewdness?” He pulled out his ticket book, stone-faced. “The judge can tell you all about it. ID, please. From both of you.”

Officer Bronksy showed no trace of a smile, not even a twinkle in his eye, and ever since he handed them the ticket and drove away, they have not spoken.

The look of lo-ove…is saying so much more than just words could ever say…. And what my heart has heard, well, it takes my breath away…

Dionne sings and Harold drives. He wishes they could laugh it all off, but the look on his wife’s face warns him not to try. It is then that the realization comes to him: The end has been reached. There is no more road in front of them. Beyond this day, he can only see himself as alone, a lone man, pathetic and glorious in eternal solitude, and it is with both joy and terror that he rounds the final corner and pulls slowly into their driveway.

The Entire Contents of Harold’s Second Journal

August 3. Here we go again. Kinda nice to be back in the old neighborhood. I always secretly loved urban decay. Harsh. Dangerous. Sexy.

August 4. What am I supposed to learn? Can’t I learn anything? I’m just a damned hamster on a wheel, round and round with the same asshole behaviors. I want a different life.

Right. This is the life you deserve, dickhead.

God help me.


Harold thinks, “I am at death’s door.”

Some time later, he thinks, “The Grim Reaper approacheth.”

Occasional thought-islands surface languidly in a vast fog. He thinks, “Harold Soderquist, prepare to meet your maker.”

He thinks, “Wait! Don’t go into the light!”

He thinks, “What’s going on? Where the hell am I?”

His chest, stomach, back, all the mysteries in the bulky center of him, are abruptly filled with grinding shards of glass. Fishhooks and fisted needles, twisting. Then someone is there at his side and a slow wave caresses him back into featureless mist.

Harold’s torso had received like a lover the thrusts of the sharp, little blade. His flesh had opened without resistance to the piercings, all 11, as if his heart knew what it needed. He will never again see the near-stranger, the one-night stand, the foolish infatuation, the woman who inflicted the wounds, but not because he is dying from them. This death is only imaginary, one of his many wish-fears. She will confess her crime and be sentenced while he lies sleeping, before he has healed and resumed his life, in which she was a momentary, if momentous, detour.

As Harold reclines in white sheets, dozing, he hears his older brother’s voice: “Harry, you gotta wake up, man.”

Glenn is standing at the bedside, throwing Harold a mock scowl while a grin hides on his lips. He is impossibly young, barely 20, his hair a blond tangle, that same old Led Zeppelin cut, his chin scruffy between the long pointed collars of his polyester shirt.

Harold’s eyes feel sleepy. He is mildly curious. “How did you get in here, is it visitation hour?”

“Doesn’t matter. You awake, so we can talk?”

“Yeah, yeah…What’s up?”

Glenn sits on the edge of the bed and leans forward to stare into Harold’s eyes. Harold is aware dimly that this is not Glenn’s normal behavior—much too serious, too fatherly. “Harry,” Glenn says, “I’m so much smarter than before.”

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