The Weight of Things Removed | Novel | Milo
Chapter 4 (Part 1)
The weekend had finally arrived, although Leonard wouldn’t have noticed it if it wasn’t for Marley’s busy excitement and general exuberance. He found that weekends had long since lost their lustre as he could effectively choose whenever he wanted his weekend to be; in recent weeks his ‘weekend’ had been on a Tuesday and a Wednesday and it would be no surprise were this to change in the future. Marianna was already awake, and he smelled the sizzling bacon and heard the hissing pops as it presumably cooked in the pan. He slovenly rose to his feet and had a quick shower before settling down in the main living area for their breakfast. On his plate sat three strips of bacon, a colony of scrambled eggs and two slices of brown bread, and he played with his bread with a puerile melancholy.
“Why are we having brown bread again?”
“Because it is healthier and tastes better,” Marianna replied as she blew cool air onto her congested fork.
“If we’re not going to have white bread can we at least compromise on a ‘best of both’ or something similar?” Leonard enquired.
“Stop being such a baby,” Marianna scoffed with a mouth that was now full of bacon.
“Yup stop being such a baby!” Marley imitated as he took a big bite of his toast, to which Leonard replied with a dismissive wave of his hand.
“We’ll see who’s the baby when we get to the park and I’m knocking in goals left, right and centre,” he finished as he took an obnoxiously loud sip of his tea. Their meal continued in this softly competitive spirit until they had all finished and dumped their dirty plates beside the sink. Whilst the others changed their clothes for the park Leonard eyed the mess suspiciously as it would no doubt fall to him to clean it up, he groaned as he filled up a two litre bottle with water, and stored it in their gym bag. Before long they were set and so left for the park, it was a relatively short walk to the square patch of grass bordered by roads and a waist high steel and cement mishmash of a fence. They were fortunate because the solitary goal in the far end was empty and so they could use it without having to share, it was sunken in at the right end and its white paint was flaky and fell away if you kicked it. Leonard started in goal and soon found his now familiar rhythm of flapping at Marley’s shot whilst taking Marianna’s more seriously. They continued like this for a while as the park became more populated and a number of other children and adolescents hovered around the goal before realising the Whistle’s weren’t leaving, and then glumly skulked away. Marianna had since replaced Leonard in goal, however, as he was lining up a penalty kick his phone vibrated in his pocket. He ignored it and dramatically exhaled before lining up a few paces behind the ball, he hopped on the spot before kicking the ball with all his might and it flew high, and it flew true, and it flew right over the goal and dangerously close to the road.
“I’ll get it,”
“I wasn’t going to offer,” Marianna muttered as she rolled her eyes and Leonard gazed forlornly after the ball, it had rolled quite far and after a morning spent playing football was in some ways too far away to be worth it.
“Can we just buy a new one?”
“Yeah!” Marley cheered and Leonard raised a hand in victory.
“I’m not letting you waste our money,” Marianna replied and he lowered his hand before walking after the ball. He wiped the sweat from his forehead using his t-shirt, as his phone vibrated again and he pulled his hand into his pocket to check the notification.
I didn’t expect this at all! Don’t really know how to feel about it, you’ve got a lot of nerve you know that? What you asked, that’s not casual.
That’s not ok.
This is where the first message finished, as a follow up message continued beneath it:
I can’t exactly say no can I? You’ve made a point of bringing it up, and I can’t say nothing especially if you’re writing about it? At the least I want to know what you’ve written. So fine we can meet, but only if I can read what you’ve written and check it when it’s finished.
A blush reddened Leonard’s cheeks and its sudden appearance made him glad that he had been the one to chase the ball; he could blame it on the exertion. He had reached the football and he rolled it underneath his right foot before turning around and kicking it wildly back to his family.
End of Chapter 4 (Part 1)