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On my walk to the hospital I pass a dead bouquet of flowers strapped to a railing

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On my journey to the hospital

I walk down
the stairs of the
double decker, stopped
by a body in front of mine.

The bus stops, the doors open, the bodies move forward.

“Thank you very much, have a nice day,” says the body to the other body behind the glass screen.

“Thanks,” I say,
my legs carrying my body off the bus.

Not Here

(Scene 1. One audience member sits down in a chair. Opposite them is a chair, in which JAMIE is sat. The chair has the backdrop of an A&E department and is on the same level as the audience member. Throughout the performance, JAMIE maintains eye contact with the audience member (apart from when talking to other characters or specified otherwise). At the end of each paragraph, a slight pause is left before the next begins. A spotlight comes down on the chair)

JAMIE            Hello? Hey. Yeah, hi, nice to see you again.

(He leans forward and extends a hand towards the audience member, waiting for them to shake it before continuing)

Well, you know, maybe not here, but still. How have you been? (Pause) Yeah, not too bad, thanks. Family stuff’s been a bit… (He slouches back in his chair.) With Rowan, you know. But it is what it is, I suppose, can’t do much about it. (He sits back upright and begins again quickly) Anyway, what are you here for? (Pause) Oh, how annoying. Broken toe, myself. First day of the season as well, can you believe it? That’s two months of training wasted. Oh well, can’t do much about it.

Yeah. (He breaks eye contact) I’m fine. Thanks for asking.

                     (Resumes eye contact, is eager to change subject) They drove me here in an ambulance and everything, you know. Apparently it’s quite a bad break so they didn’t want me walking over, but I’m sure I’ll be back to normal soon enough. (Lightheartedly) I reckon it’s bad enough to stop me helping Charlie out around the house though.

                     (Seriously) Mind, I don’t think she’ll be very pleased when I let her know she’ll have to help me get around for a couple of weeks. Yeah, I mean…she won’t mind, obviously. It’s just an extra thing for her to have to deal with at the minute. I don’t think she’s coping very well with the whole Rowan thing.

                         (Dismissively) I mean, it’s nothing really, she’s just being kinda distant. And whenever I try to talk to her about it she pushes me away and snaps at me. I don’t know. I mean I know that’s not really important in the grand scheme of things but it’s just been getting to me a little bit these past few weeks.

(He breaks eye contact again, looking away and chewing his lip. A small child – ROWAN – runs on stage and stands next to JAMIE. He looks at them and half-smiles. He looks back to the audience member)

  I’m fine though, really. Yeah, no, don’t worry about me. Things will be fine. Things are fine. Yeah, really, things are good. I mean, my toe hurts, but that’s not much to complain about, is it? Things are good. Aren’t they, Rowan? (He holds out his hand to the child. The stage goes dark)

(Scene 2. JAMIE’s chair is turned inwards. Another chair is brought on by the DOCTOR, who places it opposite JAMIE’s chair and sits down in it, facing him. ROWAN is stood next to JAMIE, holding his hand. Spotlights above each of the chairs come on)

DOCTOR        And while you’re here I’m going to prescribe you some sertraline, as well.

JAMIE            What’s that?

DOCTOR        It’s an anti-depressant.

JAMIE            Oh. Right.

DOCTOR        You said last week you felt like your wife wasn’t supporting you?

JAMIE            Yes.

DOCTOR        That she was being distant, pushing you away, not listening to you?

JAMIE            Yes.

DOCTOR        So you felt like you were on your own.

JAMIE            Yes.

DOCTOR        And you also said you felt down about the situation with little Owen here.

JAMIE            R- Yes. Yeah. Yeah, I guess I have been feeling kinda down lately.

DOCTOR        Well this should help with all that. Especially the loneliness.

(The spotlight on the DOCTOR goes off, leaving JAMIE and ROWAN in light)

JAMIE            Oh, right. Yeah. I’m alone.

(JAMIE’s chair remains lit for two seconds, before the spotlight

goes off)

 

(Scene 3. The DOCTOR takes off his chair and exits. JAMIE is stood up at the back of the stage, holding hands with ROWAN. They walk slowly towards the front of the stage, a spotlight following them)

ROWAN         Why has Daddy got tablets? Is Daddy ill?

JAMIE            No, Rowan, Daddy’s not ill. Daddy’s fine.

ROWAN         I have to take tablets like that, don’t I? (They stop walking. Rowan looks up at JAMIE.) Am I ill, Daddy?

(The spotlight stays on for two seconds before going off)

(Scene 4. JAMIE is sat in the chair at the front of the stage, facing towards the audience member. ROWAN is stood next to him. The spotlight comes down on JAMIE)

JAMIE            I don’t know. I mean, things aren’t bad. It is what it is, you know, like I said. There’s not much I can do about it really. Just hope things work themselves out. (He looks at the packet of pills he has been prescribed) Oh, these? (He lifts them up momentarily) Nothing. Just painkillers.

It’s fine, things’ll be back to normal soon enough. I’ll be back to normal soon enough. And you will too, won’t you, Rowan?

(JAMIE looks at ROWAN. There is a silent pause. He looks back to the audience member)

Anyway, it was nice seeing you again. I hope everything’s all right with you.

                 (The stage goes dark)

                (END)