Wind and rain. Typical English weather. Especially in a town closer to the coast. The worst weather for moving house. Especially an eight month pregnant woman. They thought it was perfect timing. Just right to get settled before the baby. Convenient for the end of the other house contract. It couldn't be better. Except nobody thought about the limitations of the immobile mother and the inconvenienced best friend; preoccupied with his own packed possessions, unable to assist with the move in, as he is moving out.
But the wind and the rain tops it all off. Taking the blame for the soggy boxes, the sludgy footprints, the exhausted sighs and the exasperated mover. The rain, the reason for the delays and the rushes; causing the carefully planned move out and move in to collide into one mess of mobile boxes. The wind, the reason that today's tickets were almost missed. Blown away from their usual spot at the door to an overlooked space in the middle of the busy hallway; propped up and hugging the skirting board. Easy to miss.
The burst from the door that brought the fifth box in and took the third box out was the tipping point for those tickets, which were already marked with footprints from the previous tramplings, and from those, pushed to the premium blasting spot, to catch the wind gust underneath and flick them off on their way. It was also the pausing point for the over worked, stomach grumbling mover. "As soon as I come back down we're having lunch."
"Oh, good plan. I'll join you." The call for food rings home for the old chubster. Shedding the weight doesn't curb the desire.
"But we've only just started. There are more boxes to get from my place."
"Shit. How much stuff does your woman have to move? This is my last box. Just a suitcase of clothes after it and I'm done."
"Well, some of us have more treasured possessions."
"Too many." Not a good way to welcome the new housemate. "For just one person doing all the heavy work."
"I said I'd help." As if that helps much. It was basically the same way in the last move. Just more boxes. And a much nicer day.
"No, no. It's fine." It has to be. Just get up the stairs. Keep going. Keep moving. "Lunch. Get it started. Find something to eat."
"Oh. Bagels!" Angie's glare at Henry's back as he jolts out the door proves it was right to make sure they would never live together. It's amazing how the best friend of someone and the girlfriend can be so different. To Henry life is about sharing. The more the merrier in all respects: people, food, it's all there for all of us to enjoy. This is fine when others get to take from his generous offerings, but it doesn't keep them so happy when he sees it the other way too. With Angie, what's hers is hers and what's yours is, well her business too, but she'd claim the opposite.
"Didn't you go shopping yesterday like I told you to?" In gale force winds after seven hours at work and a banging headache? When there was enough food in the cupboards and fridge from the previous week's shop. No the shopping that was demanded was not completed yesterday. "It'll have to be bagels, but you better buy me more tonight." Tonight? After hours of manual labour, in the miserable wind and rain. Sure. Sounds like fun. The well deserved break that's keeping a weary body going. Where are the good old days of pizza and beer after a move?
"Got those bagels in the toaster?" Jovial and light, ready for fun and a good meal. Last moments in the house together before the biggest separation these boys have had in over fifteen years. Coming down these stairs without that light, familiar voice and cheerful face waiting in greeting is a thought best avoided.
"Yes!" Sharp and pointed, but missing its mark as the boys take their time to say their silent appreciation and goodbyes.
"Are you going to be alright moving in with a girl?" Henry the lad's lad choosing to shack up with a girlfriend seems unnatural and forced, with all his friends doing the same.
"Ah, it's not me I'm worried about, Daddy boy." Not yet. Not yet. "Yeah, it's sooner than I'd have liked, but it's gotta happen sometime, I suppose. It might as well be Janice." Tibbet, now huge from three months growth in the house, comes over to be part of the male action. It's like he knows he's needed right at that point for Henry to pick up. "I just wish our cats got along." Henry mucks Tibbet's head around in manly affection.
"You've become a real cat lover." Cheeky intentions recognised.
"Yeah, thanks to you. 'Talk about cats. She'll love it and she'll definitely hire you.' Great advice, man." Still affectionately playing with the cat.
"Well, she did love it. And she did kind of hire you."
"As her boyfriend. Not employee."
"Is there a difference?
"Oh ha ha. Ha ha ha. Yes. Money."
"Are you boys going to keep wasting time? Your bagels are getting cold." Cut short from the last normal moments together. Time to get on and do what they have to do. At least there's food involved.
Two burnt bagels in the kitchen obviously meant for the men, but accepted regardless of the snide intent. "Put whatever you want on them, and you can toast them again, I suppose, if you want them hot."
"That's ok, babe. These are fine." Clearly, as Henry has already successfully smothered his in cream cheese and taken a bite.
"So, are you excited to move in with Janice, Henry?" It seems Angie was right to worry about slowing things down at lunch, as she timidly places tomato slices along her bagel in a precise pattern.
"Sure. Not so sure about this little guy, though." They talk about dogs reflecting their owners, but Tibbet does that as a cat too. He snatches the pinch of burnt bagel that Henry offers. That cat will eat anything. He destroys the picky reputation all other cats have been careful to build. "Hopefully he'll stand his own ground in the new place with all of Janice's cats." Not if he continues to mimic his well whipped owner role model.
"You two are moving pretty quickly. It's only been, what, three months since you started dating?"
"Could say the same about you two." Angie never gets the humour related to the baby situation. She's pretty easy going usually, but she's been over sensitive in this one area and it's the hot topic for the lads to joke about currently. "Ah, well, it's been five months. Nearly. It is a big step so quick, but Janice insisted. And I couldn't say no. Besides, it's cheaper than finding a place on my own and she knows I need the money to pay off my loan."