New Memories of Love
Jacob Kowalski looked out at the rain, the rain that would remove his memory of her; he turned to look back at his new friends who stood sheltered from the rain in the entrance way to the subway. But he saw only Queenie, his Queenie.
He thought to himself, “This will be harder for you, Queenie. At least, in a strange way, I hope it will be, although I wish it could be otherwise.” In her pain, Queenie saw Jacob pause in his thoughts. “I will have no memory, no pain. You will have only memory, only pain.” Another pause, then with a burst of invention, a burst of joy, Jacob thought, “Queenie! Take my memory. Take my memory of these last few days—my confusion at my first run in with Newt—my amazement—my joy at witnessing your magical dinner preparations—my joy at discovering the taste of that wonderful strudel you made. Take it all. Take my memories now before I walk into the rain; find me after a time and we can start again without any others knowing about us. Don’t wait too long—maybe a month or so.”
Queenie felt his excitement and saw his confidence in her. She could see the warmth of his smile that the others could not see and she smiled inwardly to herself. And so she did—and she relived the moment of his excitement and wonder as she made the strudel on their first meeting. She kissed him softly and ever so softly whispered, “done.” So, now he would know—at least for a moment. And then in those last moments she saw his courage, his trust, his serenity of mind, as he walked into the rain. And she learned what he meant when he thought to her that it would be she who suffered.
Back in the apartment she shared with her sister, Tina, she moved off to be alone with her thoughts. She could feel the sadness and despair over the injustice in the minds of Tina and Newt as they discussed the past events, as they tried to comfort each other—tried to assure each other that although it would take time, life would soon enough return to normal.
These thoughts—that things will return to normal—were too painful for Queenie to bear. “Then do something to help Jacob’s life return to normal!” she lashed out.
The two who were intent on comforting each other were shocked into silence. Tina came to her sister. “Was it so bad for you?” she asked softly.
“You cannot know—the pain of Legilimency. I had all his thoughts and as he walked into the rain, his thoughts—his affection—his desire—became slowly clouded in a mist. And when the mist lifted I was not there, not anywhere in his mind. I felt as empty of life as his thoughts were of me.”
Tina could say nothing. It was Newt who broke the silence. “The Occamy eggshells are silver. Those that I have should be adequate to provide Jacob with the collateral that he will need for his loan.”
“Thank you, Newt,” said Queenie, much relieved. She was about to say more but remembered Jacob’s thoughts—“we can start again without any others knowing about us.” With a touch of bitterness she said only, “Although it does not eliminate the memory of my feelings of emptiness, knowing that after being tossed away like so much garbage, Jacob will be able to hit the ground running and build a life for himself. That at least will be of some comfort.”
Tina looked at the sister she knew only too well. “You will not do anything foolish, will you?”
“Me do something foolish,” replied Queenie feigning a light heartedness she did not feel. “I am not the one who attacks no-majs. No, Tina nothing foolish. My life too will eventually return to normal.
“But I would like to taste his pastries. After all, I never had the chance while we were chasing Newt’s magical creatures. I think that in a month or so, when everything has settled down and Jacob has his pastry shop, it will be safe to sample one—or maybe even more than one.”
Tina smiled but continued to mildly caution her sister. “All right, but try to not be too obvious when you visit his shop.”
“Do you mean that I should not bring Jacob’s pastries to the other clerks at the Wand Permit Office more than twice a week?”
Queenie’s light hearted and frivolous response put her sister at ease and she replied in same lighthearted manner. “Just be certain to make sure that Panty gets a smidge more than the others.”
“Panty?” queried Newt.
“Ruggero Pantano is the—is—Queenie, just what is he?” asked Tina.
“He’s some kind of coordinator. I know he works with the wand examiners in some capacity. I don’t know what department he works for. He seems to float among all the departments. He may work directly for the president. He manages to show up in the Wand Permit Office once or twice a week, although he usually confines himself to the wand examiners’ office. You know, it might be fun to bring pastries when he is not there—just to see how he will react,” said Queenie.
“Have you ever accessed his mind?” asked Newt.
“A few times when I first came to work at the office,” said Queenie. “He’s not a nice person. I find it distressing to be in the mind of a Nasty and I avoid doing it whenever I can.”
“Are there many like Panty?” asked Newt.
“Too many,” said Queenie. Neither Newt nor Tina noticed the slight darkening of her manner. “Now, you two make your plans while I busy myself making a strudel and reliving some pleasant memories.”
“What plans?” asked Tina.
“Do I have to spell it out? You like each other and Newt will be leaving for England soon. Decide if you are to go with him or if you will visit later and if later, when.”
Queenie Goldstein stood across the street from Jacob Kowalski’s bakery and watched as the last customer exited a few minutes before closing time, before she entered. Jacob had his back to her but turned to see her when the sound of the bell over the door alerted him.
Jacob stood silent, just looking at Queenie until she spoke. “I know it’s late, but could I trouble you for two pastries?”
Jacob said nothing. Queenie said his name softly, “Jacob.”
“Yes, always,” answered Jacob. He moved to present her a tray of those he had left. “I don’t have much of a variety left. Sample these and then choose the ones you wish. Would you like some coffee?—No, I think that you would like cocoa. Yes, I think that cocoa would be more to your liking.”
“I would prefer cocoa. How did you know?” she asked playfully.
“Just a thought,” said Jacob.
And so it began. The next morning when Queenie came early to Jacob’s shop to get a dozen pastries for her co-workers, she noticed the strudel she had made for him on that very first meeting. She bought that too.
At the office she laid out the pastries on a table and cut the large strudel into pieces. She took for herself the first piece of the strudel. It was good but not quite right. Oh well, he had only seen her make it once, she thought to herself. But she knew that with this recipe she would reveal herself to him—reveal herself as a witch. Not yet, but soon. Tonight she would use Legilimency to look into his mind to know how much he remembered, because he did remember something—he just didn’t understand that the fantasies he imagined were real. But she would wait to reveal herself. She would allow herself to know him and him her, free from the anxiety that she was certain would emerge with his introduction to the world of magic.
It has been three weeks, three wonderful weeks. A few mornings a week Queenie would pick up the order for the office and take the time to drink the cocoa that Jacob had prepared for her. Every evening after leaving the office she would stop by the bakery for cocoa and a walk in the park before returning so he could prepare for the next morning. She was amazed at how long and hard he worked—but it was his joy.
Sipping her cocoa from a Dixie Cup, she watched him from inside and out. She enjoyed the busyness of his mind, but only remained at the shop for a few minutes during this busiest time of the day for him. She remained in his mind until she entered the magical domain of the Wand Permit Office.
Soon she thought, soon she would make that strudel for him and reveal that she was a witch.
Her quiet reverie was abruptly interrupted when she caught sight of Ruggero Pantano approaching. He walked from one desk to another, with his hands in his pockets, spending a moment in conversation; however, he was definitely zigzagging his way to her. She had wondered how long it would take for him to seek out one of Jacob’s pastries.
“Good morning Mr. Pantano. Have you come for a pastry?”
“Not really, Queenie. I wanted to ask if you had seen Robert Holden. I would like to speak to him about something.”
“Well, if its a new wand that you want, you can’t do better than Bob Holden,” she said. “I haven’t seen him this morning, but he should be in. He’s usually in his shop before everyone else gets here. I will let him know that you are looking for him if I see him.”
“No, it is something else. I am sure to see him sometime later this afternoon.”
Queenie did not have to read Panty’s mind to know he was lying and when she did she saw that he did want a wand, an untraceable wand. “As you wish, but take a pastry while you are here.”
Taking a bite of a pastry, Panty commented, “This is really quite good; where did you get it?”
It was at this point that she felt the mild euphoria that accompanies the imperio curse only moments after she saw the thought; it was almost indistinguishable from the feeling of a strong calming draft. She knew, but even if she was not in his mind, she would have known. Her change in mood from the joy she still felt after leaving Jacob’s mind to the sourness at seeing Panty approach to the euphoria of the imperio curse would have alerted her. She easily resisted his weak assault. He thought himself clever by employing such a mild coercion that he thought undetectable. She was relieved when she realized that he had no knowledge of Jacob. But he had no purpose either. He had used the imperious curse simply because he was curious about her bringing the pastries now when she had not done so before.
With this question Queenie knew that Panty was looking into her activities. She knew, but there was also something in his voice, in the way he asked. She would have to be more careful when she met with Jacob. “It’s a new shop near were Tina and I live.” There was no advantage in lying; there was danger in a lie being discovered.
She understood his method. He would ask questions and use the imperious curse to push her to answer what she did not want to answer. Incensed, she was determined to eliminate this curiosity on his part. Carefully, she isolated his thoughts about her and obliviated his curiosity about her bring the pastries. She smiled at him when she felt the mild euphoria diminish before he left to visit someone else, brushing aside and sneering at the elf who was bring her the day’s registration forms.
Queenie pondered what she had learned about Panty—that he wanted an unregistered wand—as she watched the elf bring her a stack of wand registration renewal forms from which she would select the most interesting for her day’s work. “Good morning, Mr. Zelos. Help yourself to a pastry.”
“Zelos cannot,” replied Zelos, as he pushed aside the curtain that covered the trays loaded with the registration renewal forms Queenie would need.
“I saw you eyeing them,” Queenie chastised playfully.
Zelos struggled, “Zelos n…”
“Must I order you to take a pastry?” asked Queenie again with a broad grin.
“It—helps,” replied Zelos.
“Mr. Zelos, I order you to take a pastry for your own dining pleasure. And, if you wish another pastry, come to my desk when I have pastries and I will again order you to take one.”
“Ahh, much better Mistress Queenie Goldstein,” said Zelos with a slight giggle.
Before Zelos left to deliver the rest of the registration renewal forms to the other clerks, Queenie had an idea. “Mr. Zelos, when you have the opportunity, tell Mr. Robert Holden that I would like to see him.”
“Zelos does,” he said as he placed his pastry in the empty tray that had held Queens forms, closed the curtains, and pushed his cart off to the next desk.
When Bob Holden had left Queenie, both were in agreement to keep this insight into the character of Panty to themselves. Neither wanted an investigation that would pry into their personal lives. Queenie knew her reasons. She wondered at Bob’s eagerness to avoid an investigation. His thoughts revealed nothing, only an eagerness to return to work. At least now he was alerted to the possibility that Panty might attempt to use the imperious curse to persuade him to do something he might not want to do. She wondered at the nervousness she could feel in his mind. It was he who suggested keeping Panty’s aggressive actions to themselves.
She did not tell him that Panty wanted an unregistered wand, that would introduce the question of how she knew, but she did relay to him everything they each said. Very casually she had added that she had once made a rudimentary wand when she was in school and asked if he would show her something about wand making.
Entering Jacob’s pastry shop, Queenie was determined to arrange for her to be alone with Jacob for a few hours—a few private hours—so she could show him. It was not to happen as she had envisioned. Her carefully laid plans were thrown into disarray with Jacob’s introduction of Ciro Alaimo.
“Queenie, come over, I want you to meet Ciro Alaimo,” said Jacob as he saw Queenie move aside when she entered so that Jacob could serve the last of his customers.
“Ciro, this is Queenie Goldstein. Queenie, Ciro and I went through the war together. He just got a job as a tailor at Macy’s and wanted to tell me that he and his wife Angela would like to have me to dinner this Sunday.”
Ciro knew from the excitement in Jacob’s voice that Queenie was more than a customer. “Bring Miss Goldstein along. I am sure that Angela would very much like to meet your lady friend.”
Queenie smiled as Jacob blushed slightly. She saw in Jacob's mind his thought: My lady friend—my Queenie—my beloved intended. There was no doubt that he wanted to go and that he wanted her to accompany him. Sliding into Ciro’s mind she saw that they were more than just good friends who were in the army together. Each had saved the life of the other more than once. But now each was pursuing the building of his own life. Not intent on reliving past adventures they had grown somewhat apart. Pleased with her discovery, she let herself drift further into Ciro’s mind where she discovered a thought that troubled him greatly and his reluctance to inform Jacob whom he had not seen for over a year. He knew that Jacob could not help him and he did not want their first meeting to be spoiled by his troubles.
“We would love to have dinner with you and your Angela,” answered Jacob. Realizing that he had accepted for Queenie he turned to her, “Queenie, is this Sunday good for you?”
“Sunday is fine,” said Queenie. To emphasize her eagerness she added, “And honey, if we should stay late, I will help you prepare for Monday morning.” She could feel his eagerness and the thought of her as his beloved and she too began to feel that beloved was the right word for them.
The dinner had gone very well. Queenie had helped Angela clear the table and Jacob stayed out of the way as Ciro put little Albert to bed. Jacob and Ciro were already engaged in discussing their plans for the future when Queenie and Angela returned to them. Ciro was saying that he would use the contacts he made with his Macy’s customers to begin his own tailoring business, and how he would need a good central location to serve his clientele. He already had a number of customers requesting his exclusive work. For now he would travel to those customer’s homes outside of his regular work hours.
And so the discussion went until Queenie was able to ask if all his family were here. This was when Ciro told them that most were but that they were unable to get Angela’s uncle and his family out of Italy.
“They had not planned to leave,” said Ciro. “Enrico is a watch maker and has a good business; however, when Mussolini made himself dictator they saw that with every new restriction, every new regulation, with the special attention that Mr. Boveri, the district fascist party leader, paid to him and his business, that things would only get worse. However, although people were able to emigrate, when Enrico tried to get the necessary papers, he could not. He learned why from the clerk who was processing their request. He came to Enrico’s shop that evening and told him that he had been ordered by Mr. Boveri to refuse emigration requests from certain people. Enrico was among them. He had taken a fancy to Mia, their youngest daughter. The clerk also had a young daughter and was determined to keep her out of notice.”
“She is only 13,” said Angela, very distressed.
Queenie did not need to be a Legilimens to see the distress both felt.
“We really don’t know what to do,” said Ciro. “If it was a matter of money, we could handle that. But he doesn’t want money. He has made himself rich by extorting bribes. No; he wants five nights with Mia to let them go. They do not think he will wait very long to get what he wants, leaving Enrico to simply go about his business.”
But Queenie was a Legilimens, and she knew how helpless Ciro and Angela were—how hopeless. She saw how much Jacob wanted to help, but the only thing he could think of was to offer money and this made him feel even worse because he knew money would not help.
“Ciro, Angela, will you let me try to help?” asked Queenie during a pause when no one seemed to know what to say. “I know someone in England. He has some position with the ministry there. He may know someone who can help. I don’t want to offer a false hope, but if you will tell me everything you know about Enrico, his family, where he lives, and this Mr. Boveri, I will contact my friend and see if he can help. And, if I can, you should provide a letter of introduction to Enrico. But don’t write to him about this. There is no reason to get his hopes up and we should not endanger him by putting in writing our intentions.”
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