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Just then a pair of arms circled me, cool and familiar, and a voice I knew said, “Hush, hush.” It was Noriko. We’d never hugged before—Noriko, my father had once explained to me, “does not enjoy casual bodily contact”—and this more than anything made me grasp, all at once, the gravity of the situation. I stopped crying, and asked her where my father was. She just shook her head and held my left hand in hers, firmly, and then pulled me in the direction of Nicole’s room. There, she exchanged introductions with Lord and summoned a doctor, who gave us a weary, terse recap of Nicole’s condition: a traumatic brain injury, prognosis unknown. For the moment, drugs would keep her from moving. It was important that she remain immobile while her brain healed. I asked the doctor if we should speak to Nicole, and he said, “Sure,” in a dismissive tone that made me hate him, and then he left the room. Lord rubbed his eyes, like a tired child. I told him, “You don’t have to stay, you know,” and only when he flinched did I perceive what a mean thing it was to say. I just didn’t know him, he was a stranger to me, and I was full up with strangeness, that day. “I’m going to stay,” he said quietly, and I shrugged. Outside the door a shadow loomed, disappeared, passed by again, and then there was a quiet knock. I slipped outside to see Kevin Hewey, who was a police officer, waiting for me with a notebook and a wincing expression designed, I guess, to convey sympathy. In high school Kevin had been good-looking and a bully, and I was pleased to note that he was losing his hair. “Hey Amber,” he said. “How you holding up?” I was irritated by his concern. Kevin and his fellow cops would sometimes come into the bar and get rowdily drunk and make lewd comments, on top of which they were mediocre tippers. “Never better,” I said. He didn’t even register it. “I need to take a statement from you if you’ve got a minute.” I told him I didn’t know anything about what had happened, and he nodded his chin at the door. “Who’s that?” he said. “Some friend of Nicole’s,” I said. “Was he with her last night?” “I don’t think so, but you’d have to ask him,” I said. Kevin frowned. “I don’t recognize him,” he said. He made to open the door, and I stopped him with a hand to his arm. “Do you think you can find the person who hit her?” I said. He gave me his wince-face again. “We’ll do everything we can.” Then Lord came out of the room, closing the door gently behind him, and Kevin’s demeanor changed instantly. “Sir,” he said, “could you step this way?” Lord nodded. “Of course,” he said mildly. Kevin led him past the nurses’ station to a bench in the hallway; I assumed he wanted to make Lord sit down because Lord was so much taller than he was. I couldn’t hear what he asked, but I could see Lord shake his head, over Windmill 61

Profile for Hofstra University

Windmill - December 2016  

The Hofstra Journal of Literature and Art

Windmill - December 2016  

The Hofstra Journal of Literature and Art

Profile for hofstra