Southland

Southland by Nina Revoyr

Book: Southland by Nina Revoyr Read Free Book Online
Authors: Nina Revoyr
Tags: Historical, Mystery
Live , getting up between programs to eat leftover pasta, and Laura was asleep by “Weekend Update.” Jackie kept watching, though, glad to have something she could laugh at. The stress of the day was finally receding. Her grandfather was dead and accounted for, and she had one final errand to do, after which she could get on with her life. When the show was over, Jackie extracted Rodney’s cat, who emitted a sleepy mew in protest, and then half-dragged both herself and Laura to bed. She was so tired that, for the first time in several weeks, she wasn’t worried that an aftershock would jolt her out of her sleep; she was unconscious as soon as her head hit the pillow.
    At nine a.m., Jackie opened her eyes and listened for the TV music from Rodney’s room that normally ushered them into the morning. She felt Laura stir, and they looked at each other.
    “Silence,” Laura said. “Can you believe it?”
    Jackie had noticed this too, but her first thought had been, thank God, no wake today, no funeral, no family obligations. “No,” she said. “Maybe we’re still asleep.”
    “We can’t be. I have to take my morning pee.”
    “You’re right. They’re really gone. For, like, the first time ever.”
    “So what should we do?”
    “Let’s celebrate.”
    They jumped in the shower together, giggling as they soaped each other up, and then made their way back to Laura’s bed, not worrying about the noise they made, the roommates. Afterwards, they lay naked on top of the covers, letting the sun and fresh breeze play over their bodies. They were both spent and relaxed now. No matter how heavily their problems weighed on them, Sunday mornings were still inviolate. In the mornings, they hadn’t argued yet, they began with an empty slate, and if they spent a few satisfying hours together—in bed, over brunch—it could set the tone for the rest of the day.
    Like today. They had brunch at the Farmer’s Market and then drove out to Venice Beach, which, on this unusually warm day, was crammed with roller skaters, street performers, barely clad sunbathers, hemp activists, tourists, and dealers. They walked up and down the strip several times, and when the sky began to darken at five, they sat on the beach and watched the sunset. When the last bits of orange and pink cloud had faded back to gray, they headed to Laura’s place, picked up her work clothes, then drove over to Jackie’s apartment. That night, they ate a light dinner and read on opposite ends of the couch. Jackie settled down with her Tax Law reading, crossing her feet on Laura’s lap.
    But she couldn’t concentrate. She was thinking about calling Loda Thomas in the morning. And she was thinking about all the days she’d spent with Frank when she was little, how she’d been closer to him, once, than to anyone else. And she was thinking about Lois again, how lost she’d seemed lately; how after the funeral she’d sat on the hood of the car and had not known what to do. Ted had wanted to go out to dinner. Lois wanted to go home. Jackie didn’t care, but thought they should do something , something to celebrate the fact that they were still alive and to put a cap on the miserable day. When her grandmother died, what to do had been obvious—after the funeral, they all drove down to Gardena, where Mary’s parents had run a yakitori restaurant. The place was under different management then, but most of the employees still remembered the Takayas, their children Mary, Ben, and Grace, and Mary’s husband Frank. That night, Frank consumed more sake and beer than Jackie had ever seen him drink, and had fallen asleep, mumbling, on the car ride home. He’d taken such good care of Mary, stopping work altogether the last few months of her illness so he could always be at her side, and that night, after Mary’s funeral, he had been totally overwhelmed; it was the only time Jackie ever saw him cry. And she’d felt guilty with that death, too; she’d gradually grown

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