The house was silent, as it always is at this point in the morning, apart from the clink of the spoon collecting cereal on the way to Jacob’s mouth. Munch and think, munch and think, scrape; think about what? He didn’t think as much anymore while he munched. Or maybe it was that he had too much to think about. Well, keep munching anyway. “Jake-gob!” And silence again, for the last perfect moment of the day. Wait for it… and here he comes, heavy Henry on the stairs as if he hadn’t lost all that weight. Or perhaps he’d put enough back on in muscle with all that weight training. “Jake, you in the office today?” Just wait for Hen to step through the carpeted hallway and onto the linoleum kitchen, then you can nod. And keep munching. Well? No, not yet. What’s keeping him today? A step. Ok, we’re on a roll. And there’s the sticky clicking change in texture, so nod. “Did you order a train ticket?” Whoa, stop nodding. Shake your head. God, he’s put even more gel on today.
“What’s with the gel?” Henry always puffs up when someone mentions his appearance, so he forgets everything else and drops the tickets on the table. Where are they for? “I’m in early, but got a half day for Angie moving in to her new place.” Paignton? Who’d want to go there? Might as well chuck ‘em. “Why you up-”
“Nah, keep ‘em. Might be Angie's. She said she might get something delivered here because of the move, didn't she?” Fine, change of course from the bin to the table. Hopefully she’ll see them with all this mess. “Got my interview today. Was thinking I could nab a lift in with you.”
"Fine. You going to help with the move after?" The cereal's gone soggy. Great.
"Me? Help move your girlfriend's stuff? While you two get distracted and christen the place? No thanks, Jake-gob." No. Can't eat soggy cereal. Definitely too much to think about. "Hey, hey. What you doing with that? There's still half a bowl. Give it here." Maybe it wasn't the weight training after all. Stop thinking. Nothing to munch on. "What? No comment? Jake-gob? I'm eating your leftover, soggy cereal, with your used spoon. Nothing?" The stares at one another reveal nothing. "You're supposed to be helping me stick to good eating. And you normally gag when I use your cutlery."
"Yeah. I'm gagging inside." Very true, but for other reasons. Does a week or two really matter? Isn't it the same thing? Would have thought that's what Angie's priest would say. But, then, he wouldn't even give the option in the first place. Angie had to be catholic, didn't she? It wasn't an issue when she didn't go to mass. Ever. Catholic with Sunday morning lie-ins, and no other scruples. Just this one. That's not the issue, though. It wouldn't matter if Angie was a better fit. Or life as we know it wasn't about to be wiped out. Uh, changed. Completely
"OK, I'll come help." At least loneliness will never be an issue. And you can't say you're bored if you're busy all the time. "Gob? Do you want help or not?" Crap, got distracted. Breakfast was supposed to be a break from thinking.
"Yeah, man. I need it. That girl has a ridiculous amount of things. I don't even know why she has half of it, but there are about fifty boxes to shift." How can one little person cause so much hassle and create so much crap?
"With just your car? This is not going to be fun." Got that right. Hen clashing the dishes into the sink cuts into the numbness that creeps up every time there's a pathetic review of this stupid situation. "I need something else to get the taste of that out of my mouth. Do we have any bread?" Point to the bread container that Angie bought the house for Christmas and always has stocked, just in case she gets peckish when she's over. "Empty." Guess Angie's distracted too. "What's wrong with Angie? She's always got a bagel or something in there." Unless Henry's got to it first. "Oh, better yet, do you think Angie will bake some cupcakes in the new place tonight? That would be great payment. I love it when Angie's got a bun in the oven. Eh? Eh?" Only one guy is laughing in this room. The other is about to hurl. And not stop. Catch yourself on, before he does. "It's just a joke, mate." These stares reveal everything. "Oh, shit." Yep. "Seriously?" A new anticipatious silence has been invented. Broken by the doorbell. "Shit, I'll get it."
Click clack on the linoleum, dampened by the carpet, then the over cheerful voice of the post man and Hen's awkward laugh, taking far too long to shut the door again. It's a good thing these train tickets are orange. Might actually notice them again to ask Angie about them. When's she going to Paignton anyway? "Package for Angie." Henry walks back in, but pauses, thinking he's put his foot in it again. "I didn't mean... looks like it's a DVD. Or very thin book. I'll just put it on the table under the noticeboard so we remember to give it to her. Want me to pin those tickets above the package so we remember them?" Henry grabs them, but doesn't get to keep his hold. "What? Did you remember you had actually bought them?"
"They're for April." April? What's happening in April? Why would Angie order tickets so early?
"What? Next April? That's ten months away. Can you book tickets that far in advance?" No. Can you? Well these weren't bought in advance anyway. Oh-eight. 2008? That's ridiculous, why would anyone have train tickets from 2008? And they've been used. There's the little punched out circle. Hen goes for the tickets again and gets them this time. "2008? Is that a mistake?" Who knows.
"It's quarter to. I'm leaving in five minutes if you want that lift." Lunch. No bread. What's in the fridge?
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