More from "1, 3, 2, 4." I've changed Toph's name to Benjamin based on <ahem> popular demand.
Benjamin came home from work on a Saturday to learn that Leo and Jimmy had gone to lunch together. Two white takeout boxes with red pagodas stood side by side on the top shelf of the refrigerator. Leo offered a list of the things they had talked about: jobs, vacations, childhoods, ex-boyfriends--
"And what did you have to say about ex-boyfriends?" Benjamin asked.
"Nothing really." Leo shrugged and turned his attention back to the television.
It had been three weeks since Benjamin last had a day off. He hung up his shirt and slacks and yawned his way to the bed. He napped frequently these days, covering his eyes with a pillow to block out the afternoon light that streamed in through their bare window. Leo always complained that this made him look headless, but Benjamin couldn't help it--maybe his eyelids were too thin. Only a few minutes seemed to have passed when he sat up to find himself alone. He dressed, peed, ate some yoghurt using a spoon he found on the counter. A short while later, Leo returned panting and glistening with sweat. He had gone for a jog. He had decided it was time to get back into shape again.
In his first life, Benjamin had been more sensible. Though he didn't finish his degree, he fell into a well-paying job as a corporate speech writer. He found that he had the innate talent to write words in other people's voices. Then, in his thirties, life suddenly felt as if it was chugging along faster than he had realized. He noticed more missed opportunities, more lack of discoveries, more things that were almost done, but not quite. He saved up a good deal of money, and, upon the invitation of his friend Marissa, he sold his house in Silver Lake and flew to London on a one-way ticket, sleeping on a couch, and living out of a single, over-sized suitcase.
Men in London--at least the ones he paid attention to--were young and trim and well-groomed. He loved seeing them pass by in their little gray suits and narrow black ties, their sleekness balanced by unkempt hair that only the young can really get away with. Not once did he approach any of them--he didn't need to. He was content just to see them and to be among them. In London, he felt as if he was on an expressway, making up for lost time. Each morning he would walk the streets for hours, snapping photographs, eavesdropping on English conversations, not returning to Marissa's until the late afternoon, when he would finally take some time to plan his return to the States as he waited for her to finish her work.
What's Peanut eating? Chicken bits fed to him under the table. Shhh.