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Monday, 29 February 2016

The Weight of Things Removed Chapter 1 (Part 2)

The Weight of Things Removed | Novel | Milo

Chapter 1 (Part 2)

Leonard was forced to park his car slightly further from their apartment than he would have liked, because the best parking spots had been taken. He made an audible scoffing noise as he unclipped his seat belt and opened the door to step outside, as Marley did the same in a wordless routine. His son ran up the first nine steps before jumping up the tenth, leaving Leonard to skip up them to keep the pace. He locked his car door with the remote before finding his door key and inserting it into the lock; the key was a muted, rust colour and had to be squeezed into the lock before it clicked. They lived in an apartment owned by a surly Irishman named Paddy Coyne, sandwiched on the middle floor between two other families. Gary Olsen and his wife Susan lived on the bottom floor, and were an elderly couple who troubled no one and mostly kept to themselves three hundred and sixty-four days of the year. The other two days that they bucked this trend were Christmas Eve and Good Friday, wherein the elderly couple would annually invite their neighbours to join them on their way to mass, and for the last few years Leonard had accepted. He had taken an immediate liking to Gary whose gravelly voice and obliviousness reminded him of his late grandfather. The floor below their one housed Amnat and Priya Wonjongkam along with their seventeen-year-old son Khaosai, a boy whom Marley looked up to and had increasingly started to emulate. Leonard was intermittently bothered by his son’s choice of hero, often shushing his concerns as little more than jealousy.
“Marley come back,” Leonard called as he noticed his son slink downstairs out of the corner of his eye, no doubt hoping to see if Khaosai was about.  
“I’m coming,” he mumbled as he re-joined his father and they entered their apartment proper. Marley ran across the shiny wood-panelled floor and into his bedroom, leaving the door ajar as he changed out of his school uniform. Their apartment was small but spacious; the kitchen, living room and dining areas were all a part of the same large open room. The bathroom and bedrooms splintered off of the sides of the main body, like the handles and basket of a bicycle. Leonard headed to the kitchen counter and placed his wife’s dinner on a plate, before placing it in the microwave and closing the door. The food was still warm and so he didn’t turn on the machine, instead he left it in the closed compartment in order to delay the cool air from chilling it. There was after all nothing worse than cold chips. He heard a busy shuffle coming from downstairs and leaned over the counter to find his fiancĂ©e.   
“You’re home early,” Leonard quipped as his head rested on his hands.
“I had another training session today.”
“Oh really? What was it on?”
“Management and marketing,” she uttered as her fingers formed quotation marks, and she busily removed her coat and headed into their bedroom. She continued talking but he couldn’t quite hear her as her pacing, and a number of slapping drawers, muffled her speech.  
“Marley, mum’s home,” she called interrupting her barely audible rant, and their son left his bedroom to enter theirs. Moments later her emerged and returned to his room.
“I heard none of that by the way,” Leonard chuckled as his wife put on the kettle, and sighed to no one in particular.
“To be honest it wasn’t very interesting anyway.”
“Right,” Leonard replied, as a short silence hung before Marianna continued.
“It’s just very frustrating, because I don’t need to be attending training sessions and business seminars. I mean I know I am not the most experienced team leader in the gym, but I am ready to take over. We’ve got a month before Lola leaves and I’m getting really stressed out about it.”
“I remember you saying that you think she’s just going to leave without doing a proper handover,” Leonard added to an approving nod from his partner.
“And I still feel that way, I mean I need to be in the centre familiarising myself with the member accounts and the financial reports rather than heading out on these generic seminars. Also I feel like the members and trainers need to see that Lola trusts me to take over,” she paused again and closed her eyes before shaking her head. The kettle popped and he watched her as she poured out two cups of coffee.   
“Is Jeremy still being a prat?”
“Oh yes, he is definitely going to leave once Lola is gone,” she smirked as she idly stirred both cups. She carried both to the coffee table and they sat down in front of the television, Leonard popped on the console and they took turns pounding each other on a fighting game they had both taking a liking to. Leonard heard a wispy sound as Marley ran out in front of the sofa and lied down on his belly in front of the screen. The afternoon passed like this until the room greyed and the television suddenly brightened, causing Leonard to wince. He lazily reached out a hand to turn on the nearby lamp, and doing so illuminated the sleeping silhouette of Marley. Leonard smiled.
“I don’t know what to do,” he muttered as he suddenly paused the adventure game they had since started playing.
“Maybe we should retrace our steps, I’m sure you can jump onto that ledge,”
“That’s not what I meant, it’s…I received a strange commission today.”
“It was from Alby at Foster’s Curriculum Guides. You know how I’ve been updating their A-Level Law book with contemporary cases right? Well Alby used to work for a law firm so not only does he know his stuff, he’s been a lot more finicky with my submissions and has more often than not been picking cases he wants me to research and analyse. Which you know is fine, it makes the research phase easier, but well-”  
“Well what?”
“He wants me to research a particular manslaughter case: R Vs Ayodele (20XX). I knew the perpetrator of that case, it was somebody called Paulie and I knew him.”
“That’s a bit surreal, would you find it weird to write about it?”
“I definitely would I mean it’s not my place to dissect something like that, to write about it as if I never knew Paulie would feel extremely fake and disrespectful. It seems a bit exploitive?”
“Is it really any less exploitative than what you do anyway, I mean you didn’t know Paulie that well did you?”
“No I guess I didn’t, do you want a drink?” He asked as he handed the controller to his wife and she nodded her head. He stood up and walked over to the fridge, and as he opened the door he paused to allow the cold whiteness to press against him. He lingered in front of the bone coloured light of the fridge, and it illuminated his face softly in the dark recesses of the kitchen corner. He fingered a can of coke before picking it up more decisively and snapping it open, however instead of drinking it he started to dribble a small amount down the drain.    
“I did know Paulie,” he muttered.
“What?” Mariana cried amidst the jingle of an ‘end of mission’ score screen, “I told you we had to go back to the ledge, look at what your timewasting has done to our score!”
“Well it’s not my fault I didn’t know what ledge you were talking about; we were on a mountain so there were at least twenty different ledges!” He rebutted with a cheery grin on his face, before taking a sip from the half empty can.

End of Chapter 1 (Part 2)

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