So I wanted to do something a little different with more humour and i thought about it and then this story was born .
It was cold, his phone was dead and yet all he could think of on his way to Marcus’s was the ridiculous jogger dressed like a Christmas tree doing his usual prancing gazelle routine, today he was sprinting. Lenny understood sprinting. You ran fast because you had somewhere to get to. He didn’t understand that whole jogging business. It was a run, only slower, so obviously you were in no hurry to get where you were going, so why not walk?
As always, arriving at Marcus’s house always brought this sense of dread he couldn’t yet identify, maybe it was what he knew he was about to endure for three hours, or maybe it was the fact that he was tiring of his frequent visits but it was most likely the pet dog Rover who seemed to have a hungry look on his face whenever Lenny approached him. Without hesitation he knocked on the door fervently while keeping a very close eye on the dog, after about five minutes the door opened and to be honest he wished he had been greeted by a much kinder face. Tessa was Marcus’s first daughter, her real name was Theresa but if you valued teeth and general good health you usually called her Tessa, she greeted with her usual grunt and led him in, after all these years Lenny was astonished as to how Marcus kept the interior design the same or how he could stand it more like.
The colour was in one word: drab. His wife upon entering the house had decided to give it her personal “touch”, when Lenny finally decided to get married he hoped his wife wouldn’t be half the tyrant Catherine was. Tessa led him to the sitting room which he had become accustomed to due to his frequent visits, as he sat down he heard a sharp screeching sound which made him cover his ears in absolute horror, a sound that could only be described as abominable, jarring and could only be made by one man, one teenager to be specific. James the third and last child (he hoped) was thirteen and when he told Marcus of this disturbance he replied “let him be, he’s ‘experimenting’ ”
Lenny just wished he could experiment somewhere else, like Canada or the French quarter and he heard Russia was nice at this time of the year, he gave his suggestions to Marcus but his friend wouldn’t have it.
Still waiting for Marcus to arrive, he used the time to look around, what caught his eye was the family portrait, looking at it someone may have assumed they were a happy family, after a year of careful observation he knew otherwise.
“I remember when we took that”, Lenny turned around to meet his friend, truly the years had worn out his friend or maybe it was Catherine, he could never tell, at about six feet tall Marcus looked like an athlete that is, if you ignored the grey hair sprouting at the edges of his head or his constant slouch. He remembered when they were children and how lively he had been, now he looked like a fifty-two year old man even though he was in his early forties
“it was just after James was born wasn’t it?” Lenny replied
“Yes and that one was after the wedding”
he said, pointing to a gold framed picture, for some reason Marcus looked at Lenny with a scowl.
It took him a while, but he remembered. The wedding service had been nice with a never ending flow of food, when it was his turn to make a toast, he had said wonderful things about the groom recollecting their childhood years and he was sure he saw some tears in his friend’s eyes, then he looked quizzically at Catherine and said
”oh, I thought you were marrying Will(Marcus’ brother),in that case I take it all back”
Lenny didn’t remember all of it but there was definitely a lot of shouting and swearing afterwards
“And what a day it was” Lenny replied with a smile
“you’re two days early, is anything wrong?”
“Can’t I visit my friend without coming here to work?”
“What do you want?”
“Before you begin just remember that I don’t owe you anything”
“Really?, because if I remember correctly, I am the one who introduced you to your wife, looking back at it, I think I should apologize”
With a sigh Marcus replied ”just shut up, let’s go upstairs and talk”
On the way up,, Marcus started with the usual question
”So when are you settling down?”
“Don’t start Marcus” Lenny replied
“I’m just saying, you’re a family consultant and yet you don’t want to start one, a bit ironic isn’t it?”
There were very few events in the world that could be considered rare, Lenny being speechless was one of them. Marcus just wished he had his camera.
Before they could even get up the stairs, Charlie had already beat them to it, for a young boy he was quite smart, but the side effect was that he was constantly spouting out facts that everyone could live without.
“hey, Uncle did you know that-“
He was abruptly cut off by Lenny who quickly replied ”yes I did”
After the interruption they made their way to the living room upstairs, where they both sat down. Once upon a time this house belonged to Marcus’s parents and as children they had both played in this vey room in fact just sitting down here brought a feeling of nostalgia.
“What’s wrong?” Lenny asked, when you spent twenty two years knowing someone, it was easy to know when they were troubled
“it’s the house” he replied
“Oh, did it go to a party without telling you?, for God’s sake be more specific”
“It’s being bought out”
“Times have been rough, I got laid back from work two months ago so I haven’t been able to pay the bills and I had no choice, so last week I went to an estate agent and this morning I got a call, she said she would buy the house and for good money too Just enough for us to start a new life in a small apartment”
Hearing his friend so sad brought out a protective instinct to make sure his friend was okay but honestly he didn’t know how.
“but you can’t sell the house” he said finally
“ I had no choice and there’s something else you should know”
“The buyer, it’s your sister”
“but-but-but she’s dead”
“I thought so too but when I heard her voice I was sure, she may go by a different name but I’m sure of it, it’s her, Rita’s alive”
But Lenny wasn’t listening, he was too busy remembering the burial.
It had been a nice day, the birds were singing, the flowers were colourful, it seemed like such a cruel joke seeing as they were just about to bury his sister, his only sister. It had been an accident, she worked for the infirmary in Iraq, constantly helping, constantly happy, constantly hopeful. She had just got off the phone from her brother, and no one expected it, everyone knew that the fighting went on in the battle field but no one expected the infirmary base to be bombed, thirty-three died, fifty-two injured, Rita wasn’t among the injured.
Till this day he would never forget the last words he heard her say on the phone that day
“so when are you coming back home?” Lenny had asked
“don’t worry about me, just a few more days and I’ll be back home, I promise and tell Marcus I said hi”
“Lenny, Lenny are you listening?” Marcus said, interrupting Lenny’s reverie
Lenny just looked at him and said ”Hi”
“What are you talking about?”
“Never mind that, did she give you a card?”
“yes, she did” he said, handing Lenny a white piece of paper
Michealson consultancy agency
TARA .I. DREWS
It didn’t take long but Lenny scrambled the letters and what he realized made his heart stop.
There were a lot of questions going through his head, but the first one was “how?”, for year he had mourned the death of his sister and now it occurred to him that she’d been alive all this time. How could she?. What was she dong that was so important that she left her family and friends in the dark. Thinking about it now, she always did have a bit of a selfish attitude.
To be frank, he came from a family of drug lords, corrupt politicians and Mafia kingpins, he had hoped he and his sister would be the exception, the ones to escape the mess that was his family. And now here it seemingly was, his sister pulling the exact same stunt his father would pull. It stung, it really did.
He stormed out of Marcus’s house, knowing that his friend would understand the trauma he was facing. He had already put his keys in his car when Marcus called out.
“Yeah?” he answered.
“Don’t do anything stupid”
“Now, when have I ever done anything stupid?”