"Come on. She's asleep now. And she might be asleep for the next four hours." Not a chance of that. Alice is a good baby, but the sun is out, the neighbours are getting ready for work and kids will be walking past on their way to school. No way that curious baby will stay asleep for another hour, let alone four. "Just imagine what we could get done in that time." When a baby sleeps, shoudn't the parents, too? Especially when one of them has an afternoon shift to look forward to? "We'll start in the kitchen. Do it over breakfast. We'll just clean some things up and make a plan and a list of what to do and what to get to make it brighter, more inviting. More homely. And if we get that list done, we can move on to the hallway."
"Let's just get breakfast, first." That wasn't exactly and agreement, so no skipping called for, but at least breakfast is getting closer. What's better? Food or sleep? It's hard to tell at this point. As soon as it's time for one, you want the other and nothing satisfies. It's easy for Alice. She gets the right one just when she wants it. Although, sometimes even she seems confused about which she prefers.
"Ideally, I'd love to get a different table, but maybe we can just paint it. Or as a
last resort, find a table cloth that is actually nice and doesn't make the place look too dowdy." Just focus on the toast, please, how can you do or think about anything else? "We could paint the cupboards too." We? Who exactly? "They're just so dirty after all these years of bachelor living. The landlord really should do a good clean and spruce up of the whole place, but I suppose you boys were expected to keep it decent and clean as each person left." Yeah, well nothing official was ever stated. Speaking of the landlord, shouldn't he be doing any work, or at least paying for it?
"Actually, I don't know if we can paint the cupboards. The landlord might not let us. I'm sure there's something in the contract about structural changes." That'll stop any of this fixing up talk.
"Oh, no I asked him when I was signing the contract. As long as we don't knock a wall down he basically doesn't care. We just can't afford much more than paint." Is paint even affordable? The butter going on this toast barely is. "Anyway we'll wash the walls. Hopefully they don't need paint, I don't want too many fumes in here with Alice's bottles. And that notice board can come down right away. It's such a ghastly sight. Is there anything in any way useful on it? Concert tickets?" Gig tickets. "From two years ago. They can go in the bin." Tearing down years of memories and life. "A gas bill. From three years ago. With doodles all over it." Not the comic book cafe. That was a great idea, and all planed out in drawings. Diagrams. Should have done something about it. No comics, though, and no funds to rent a cafe. "A blurred picture. I don't even know what it's of." Henry and that ugly girl he thought looked like Tara Reid. That was the only proof we had that he was wrong, but his proof that maybe he wasn't. "And these old train tickets. They're not even yours, but you pin them up like treasured memories."
"No. Keep them." Nobody expected that one. Why keep them?
"Why? They're rubbish." But they're not. Not rubbish at all. Why keep them? Why hold on? Because it's not finished yet. There are more to come. "There hasn't even been a new one in months."
"Actually one came this month." Shocked, surprised and hurt. Like some secret has been kept from her. Can't have that. "You were in the hospital, so I added it to the rest. I forgot about it as soon as it happened." Angie's feet edging closer in threat to the doom of the bin. Testing. The excuse. The idea. The relationship.
"Well, they're still rubbish and should have been thrown out as they came through the door. It's like everything else that comes into this house. You boys don't know what or when to let go. You just hoard all this crap and it takes over everything. Well it's not the lad's house anymore. It's our house. With Alice. So we're cleaning everything out. Including -" but a hand reaches out to snatch the tickets from her as she leads them to their doom. "What is the big deal about these tickets? They're just used, useless tickets to stupid places. There's nothing special about them. Is there?" Make her believe that is exactly the case. "Is there something you're not telling me?" No, no. Calm and steady, proves there's nothing suspicious. "Do you know who sent them?" Pah, shrug of the shoulders shows no clue. "Why do you want to keep them?"
"They're not mine to throw away. There's something disrespectful about putting them in the rubbish. Some people used these tickets. They went places together, did things, saw things. The mystery is pretty cool. Don't you think?" Moments to consider. Moments to take it in, ponder and disagree.
"No. They're just used rail tickets." No respect, just dropped in on top of the old bills and photos. But when she turns and takes the board off the wall she misses the sly grab to rescue just those last memories. "There. Better already." But why rescue them? Why are they needed? Why are they more valuable than the years of housemate memories already discarded with rotting apple cores? "Oh, but look at the colour!" Yes, there's something about mystery. "It's like a different shade." And something about the journeys made. "Look at it." The memories they made and the people they were. "Completely different."
"I'll have to paint over the whole thing, then, I suppose." But painting is not on Angie's mind yet. She wants to clean. The toast is half eaten and getting cold, but a rag is her only priority as she storms over to the sink, finds one, adds soap and water to it and marches straight back to the now bare wall, to rub at the grime. She's on a mission. And she's persistent. That's Angie when there's something she wants. Just like this relationship. She had her eyes on it and she scrubbed everything else away until she could get it the way she wanted.
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