Radio Script -WPLongform. Learning Curves.

Working on 30 mins. I think, with 5 scenes, I’m about half way through.

LEARNING CURVES

FX FADE IN TRACK: “JUST THE WAY YOU ARE”/BILLY JOEL.

FX Scene 1 – Int. Day – MITCH’S LIVING ROOM
MUSIC FADES OUT UNDER DIALOGUE AS PHRASE, “DON’T GO CHANGING JUST TO PLEASE ME, I LOVE YOU JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.” IS REACHED.

CARL I went to bed… slept as usual…

MITCH Yes?

CARL Woke up-

MITCH (INTERRUPTING) Came as a shock, did it?

CARL Just shut up and listen!

MITCH Well get on with it!

CARL Can’t. You got any booze?

MITCH At nine O’clock in the morning?

CARL A strong one… better get one yourself.

MITCH Coming up… Are you going to tell me or what? Just don’t go all girly on me.

FX DRINK BEING POURED.

MITCH Here, one hair-of-the–dog. What..? What have I done now?

CARL Girly? Did you say girly?

MITCH Hey, calm down Carl! Only thought you were getting a bit too near your feminine side… Come on, mate; what is it?

CARL When I woke up this morning…

MITCH Yeah?

CARL This morning when I woke up…

MITCH Oh, for God’s sake!

CARL I was a woman.

MITCH You were a… WHAT?!

CARL A woman.
MITCH Oh.

CARL Oh?! Oh?! All you can say is ‘Oh’?! Cheers mate.

MITCH You mean… you’ve gone gay?

CARL You can’t go gay! You go training or clubbing or drinking, not gay. I’ve gone FEMALE! I’m a bird, a tart; I’m a woman, for God’s sake. I’ve got boobs!

MITCH Well, to be fair, you always have had…

CARL WHAT?

MITCH ‘Moobs’ then, man-boobs, you must have heard the lads after football? Steve swears blind you’ve got bigger tits than his missus… Ow!

FX SCUFFLING SOUNDS AND GRUNTS ETC. AS CARL LUNGES AT MITCH.

MITCH Argh…! Settle down…! You need more drink.

FX MITCH LEAVES ROOM. BOTTLES BEING UNSCREWED. FRIDGE DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES. ICE CUBES DROPPED INTO DRINK. CHINK OF METAL AGAINST GLASS AS LIQUID IS STIRRED.

MITCH I’ve made a jug. All the leftovers from Christmas with a bit of lemonade.

FX DRINK POURED. ICE CUBES CHINK

CARL Cheers.

MITCH Carl…? If you’re female now… do you fancy blokes?

CARL NO! I don’t, pervert; I fancy women!

MITCH Well, doesn’t that make you a les-

CARL (INTERRUPING) That’s it. I should have known…I’ve had enough. I’m off.

MITCH Sorry, I’m not laughing… Well, I am, but what would you do?

CARL I’d try to help. At least you could try to-

MITCH (INTERRUPTING)I spent all last night trying to bloody help!

CARL What?

MITCH I even dumped the bird I was with to un-weld you from some dodgy slapper. I poured you into a cab – and paid for it – got you into your pit safely and then had to walk all the way home by myself.

CARL Sorry mate.

MITCH Then I’m woken, at the first crack of sparrows, by you telling me you’ve gone female?

CARL God. What am I going to do?

MITCH Sit down Carl; tell me how you knew… Don’t look at me like that… I’m sorry…

CARL How I knew?! Just look at me. How do you think I knew?

MITCH Talking to you is like playing pass-the-parcel with a hand-grenade! Start at the beginning. I promise I’ll try not to-

CARL (INTERRUPTING)Laugh and you’re dead!

MITCH Just give me a minute then, ok? Be right back.

FX A DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES. MUFFLED HYSTERICAL LAUGHTER. DOOR RE-OPENS AND MITCH RETURNS

MITCH Right, I’m all yours.

Scene 2 – Ext. Day – BEACH
FX WIND GUSTING. WAVES WASHING OVER SHINGLE. GULLS SCREAMING. OCCASIONAL SHOUTS FROM EXCITED CHILDREN.

MITCH What was wrong with telling me at mine? It’s bloody arctic out here!

CARL I needed to get out, besides, it’s not that cold.

MITCH Oh, yes it is!

CARL Why are you laughing…? What are you looking-

MITCH (INTERRUPTING) You. Nipples like chapel hat-pegs; told you it was cold!

CARL Oh shit! I can’t walk around with these… AND LOOK AT MY FACE WHEN YOU TALK TO ME!

MITCH They’ve grown; even since this morning! Look, we’ll call off at Boots and get you something to strap them down with. (CHUCKLING) Do Gossard do crepe bandages?

CARL What?

MITCH Nothing… Did you honestly not feel anything during the night? All that stretching. Didn’t it hurt?

CARL I was beyond feeling, remember?

MITCH So it was only when you went for a pee, first thing?

CARL Yeah. I reached down and there it was. Gone.

MITCH What did you do?

CARL I sat down, stupid, I still needed to pee.

MITCH No. What did you do then?

CARL What did you expect me to do? Look under the bed for it? See if I’d left it on the dresser with my keys and wallet?

MITCH (MUSING) My mum tried for years to get us to sit down. She said…

CARL (INTERRUPTING) ‘Snot helping, Mitch!

MITCH Course not, sorry…Did you find it harder to get dressed this morning?

CARL What?

MITCH Deciding what to wear? Whether your bum looked big?

FX MITCH LAUGHING AS CARL CHASES HIM. RUNNING ON SHINGLE.

CARL I’m warning you, Mitch!

MITCH Last one to the car is a big girl’s blouse!

FX Scene 3 – Int. Day – IN MITCH’S CAR
THE CAR IS PARKED WITH THE ENGINE RUNNING. OTHER VEHICLES PASSING OCCASIONALLY. FADE IN TRACK: “BLACK MAGIC WOMAN”/FLEETWOOD MAC SEGUE INTO…

MITCH BRRR! Soon have it warmed through.

CARL Tell me more about last night. What was she like, that girl I was with when we left the club? Why did you drag me away?

MITCH She was with someone. If I hadn’t dragged you away you’d have been filled in by her bloke! No, she was nice actually.., not like the one I dumped when I came to sort you out!

CARL Did I cock things up for you?

MITCH Could say that! One minute I’m onto a promise, she’s all over me like a…

CARL (INTERRUPTING) Rash?

MITCH Nah, more like a steamroller! God, she went mental when I peeled her off and ran over to you! Didn’t like being left!

CARL Was it bad?

MITCH Yeah, she followed me screaming and cursing! I think she was trying to thump me, but the bouncers grabbed her and held her back.

CARL Cursing? What did she say?

MITCH Actually, you helped me out; I used you as a shield to get past her-

CARL (INTERRUPTING) What did she say?

MITCH Oh, how did I think it felt? Being picked up and dropped? Telling me I’d soon find out? Usual libber crap!

CARL You’d soon find out? Mitch, that’s not libber crap?

MITCH Whatever. What a witch! A panic-pull, but better than nothing at the end of the night. Until you take off the beer-goggles, that is.

CARL Witch…? That’s it. Don’t you see? That must be it! She was a witch!

MITCH Hang on, mate, ok, granted she was no oil painting, but-

CARL (INTERRUPTING) She was a witch! It’s the only explanation! I’ve been cursed, hexed, whatever. But why? Why me?

FX THE FOLLOWING LINE IS SPOKEN TOGETHER.

CARL OH MY GOD!
MITCH OH MY GOD!

CARL It was-

MITCH (INTERRUPTING) meant for me!

CARL Think, come on, Mitch. Think! What exactly did she say?

MITCH Well…The last thing I clearly remember is that she said she’d see me next week and I could tell her how it’d been-

CARL (INTERRUPTING) Had been?

MITCH Yeah, when I was dragging you out backwards-

CARL (INTERRUPTING) But she definitely said had been?

MITCH Yeah, as far as I can remember, but…that means-

CARL (INTERRUPTING) I have to walk around all week carrying your bloody curse!

MITCH Well…Look on the bright side, mate! At least with your moobs you were halfway there! Ouch! What are you doing? Get off!

FX SOUND OF SCUFFLE.

MITCH That’s enough, pack it in or we won’t make the shops!

FX INCREASED ENGINE NOISE AND INDICATOR CLICKING AS MITCH WAITS TO JOIN TRAFFIC.

FX Scene 4 Ext. DAY – STREET
BUSY WITH SHOPPERS AND TRAFFIC. SNATCHES OF CONVERSATION FROM PASSERS-BY. STRAINS OF MUSIC AND LAUGHTER AS PUBS ARE PASSED.

MITCH Shove your hands in your pockets and slouch. Lean forward a bit so you just look like a fat git…WHAT? I’m only trying to help.

CARL Shut up. Let’s get this over with, I’m going to the chemist for-

MITCH (INTERRUPTING) WHAT? Don’t grab me like that! You’re hurting me-

CARL (INTERRUPTING) Look! Over there!

MITCH What…? What am I looking at? Stop pulling at me.

CARL Over there! Lewis’ window!

MITCH Oh, I see. The blue satin with the bow or the sparkly black mini? I think the blue will set your eyes- [off nicely.]

CARL (INTERRUPTING) No, no! The girl with the long black hair. Is that her, Mitch? The one you were with last night?

MITCH Let go of my arm and I’ll tell you… Yeah, I think I-

CARL (INTERRUPTING) Come on then. What are you waiting for?

MITCH Carl! Wait…Careful…Look out…

FX BRAKING CARS, HORNS, CURSING DRIVERS

GIRL What the hell do you think you’re doing?! Get your hands off me!

CARL Hang on a minute, please? Were you in ‘Legends’ last night? Please, you’ve got to help me!

FX FOOTSTEPS AS MITCH ARRIVES

MITCH Carl! Listen to me. I’m wrong. I thought it was her, but she’s not the one-

GIRL (INTERRUPTING) You made that apparent! Last night when you went to buy me a drink and didn’t come back? Tosser!
MITCH I got waylaid, ok? Sorry, but-

GIRL (INTERRUPTING) Waylaid? You didn’t get WAYlaid; you went off to GET laid! What’s wrong with you lot; talking to us too challenging?

CARL Look I’ll sort him out, don’t worry…Come on, Mitch!

FX MITCH AND CARL’S FOOTSTEPS ARE HEARD HURRYING AWAY FROM THE SCENE. IN THE BACKGROUND THE GIRL IS HEARD SHOUTING.

GIRL Dick-heads!

FX Scene 5 – Evening – Int. MITCH’S HOUSE
TV SHOW “TOP GEAR” IS HEARD UNDER DIALOGUE THROUGHOUT.

CARL If I stand with my arms in the air and swivel, can you wrap them around me; tightly enough to squash my…err, chest?

MITCH Think so. Get your shirt off.

CARL (RELUCTANTLY) Yeah… In a minute… Beer first?

FX FRIDGE OPENING AND CLOSING AND CANS BEING OPENED.

MITCH Oh, cheers… and for bailing me out earlier, by the way.

CARL Did you just leave her sitting? That girl, I mean?

MITCH Course I did! I was getting nowhere fast and, hey! So many women, so little time… What..? Don’t go all soft on me.
CARL Can see why she was pissed off.

MITCH What is this? Female solidarity? A few days ago you’d have done exactly the same, only quicker. What is it the lads say about you and a frog – if you could stop it hopping?

FX VERY SHORT PAUSE DURING WHICH, TOP GEAR’S HOST, JEREMY CLARKSON, IS HEARD SCREAMING ENTHUSIASTICALLY ABOUT CARS

CARL Do you really want to watch this?

MITCH (SARCASTICALLY) Ooooh no! Let’s watch Trinny and Susanna!! Better still, ‘10 years Younger’ is on the other side… Shut up!

CARL ‘Spose we’d better try the bandages?

MITCH Yeah… Get ‘em out for the lads then!

FX Scene 6 – Ext. LATER SAME EVENING – KITCHEN
FOOD BEING DISHED UP AND PLATES BEING PUT ON THE TABLE.

MITCH Smells good. I’m starving, all that sea air! C’mon Carl? You’ve got to eat!

FX SOUND OF PLATE BEING PUSHED AWAY.

CARL Not hungry.

MITCH You’ve hardly touched it. What’s wrong…Ha, apart from the obvious, that is?

CARL Dunno. Just feel a bit queer.

FX CHAIR SCRAPING WHEN PUSHED BACK FROM TABLE.

MITCH Steady! I never said a word!

CARL Oh God! What am I going to do? I can’t go into work like this.
MITCH Ring in sick; tell them you’ve got a bug or something.

CARL Will you ring up for me? I feel crap. Stomach’s killing me.

MITCH Ache? Or pains?

CARL Spasms. Not felt anything like this before…
MITCH Oh, Carl mate! You haven’t got the curse, have you?

CARL Course I’ve got a curse! I don’t usually have 42” pecs and a craving for Babycham!

MITCH No, not A curse, THE curse…

FX CUTLERY DROPPING ON PLATE AND GASPS OF HORROR.

FX THE FOLLOWING TWO LINES ARE SPOKEN TOGETHER

MITCH OH, MY GOD!!!!
CARL OH, MY GOD!!!!

MITCH I’ll go and ring work for you.

FX DOOR OPENING AND MUMBLED TELEPHONE CALL BEING MADE. “CARL ROBERTS WON’T BE IN TO WORK NEXT WEEK, HE’S NOT HIMSELF…”

CARL (GROANING)Ooooh!

MITCH All done.

CARL Ooh…argh…cheers.

MITCH Wish I could have all week off as well.

CARL I’d swap. This is agony.

MITCH I’ll get you a hot water bottle.

CARL I’m not bloody cold, I’ve got cramps!

MITCH I know… My mum always had a hot-bot when she had the…

CARL All right, all right! Just get the bloody thing!

FX ELECTRIC KETTLE BOILS AND CLICKS OFF. WATER POURING. RUBBER STOPPER SQUEAKS.

MITCH Oh yes! The hot-bot was my early warning system for her monthly bout of Tourette’s! (ENTERING LOUNGE) There you are, cuddle that.

Plaiting Fog

Plaiting Fog

We’re in Starbucks trying to heal our week with skinny Lattes and putting off going back to one-bed flats and microwaved meals in the suburbs. It’s Friday after work. Ros is talking. She’s a copy writer; she knows how to use words.
“…I knew him less than a year and took my child, two suitcases, and closed the door on my marriage. Can you believe that?”
I nod and drops of rain caught in my hair, splatter, and stain the table’s polished surface.
It only took Max three weeks…Twenty-one days to wipe out our marriage and throw his lot in with his secretary of three months.
I may not be the right person for Ros to confide in.
“Nearly thirty years I’ve known him,” she says, “but I haven’t seen him for twenty five.”
“Did you leave for him?” I say.
I’m not sure I want to hear her answer. Since Max walked out on me a year ago I find it difficult empathising with marriage wreckers.
“No; because of, but not for. I didn’t know when I left if he would come for me, but he did.”
“So no regrets; about leaving I mean?”
“None. And now I know I’ll see him again, I feel like a hibernating animal waking up.”
Did Max ever feel like that about me? Does he feel like that about the new Ms ‘500-words-a-minute’?
“So, why didn’t you marry him?”
“Lots of things… There wasn’t just me, remember, but a toddler as well. Jamie used to call us his ‘Blue Peter’ family; one that someone had made earlier…, but there were other things as well.”
I’m surprised she’s telling me all this. We don’t normally ‘share’; it’s usually just office gossip. A quick coffee once a week.

The untouched Lattes cool in front of us. She stares through the rain trickling down the café window; the blurred headlights of cars passing outside highlight her cheek bones and darken her eyes. Behind her face, just for a second, I glimpse the young woman he must have known.

I think she’s going to stop talking and I don’t want her to.
“Well, did he meet someone who didn’t have kids?” I prompt.
“No. It was me who finished it. Things happened that changed me…” her voice trails off.
I’ve never seen her look like this. Her face seems tight; folded in around itself as if it’s hiding. It’s disconcerting. Since Max left me, I rely on Ros to cheer me up.
“Changed you?”
“My ex turned up out of the blue, took my daughter out for the day and didn’t come back.”
“You mean…?”
“I mean he snatched her. Said I wasn’t a fit mother. Said I only cared for Jamie, put him before my daughter. Ironic really, it was the first time we’d seen him for years. I never realised how bitter he was about me leaving him.
“He said Jamie’s type would never take on another man’s child. And if I didn’t believe him, give Jamie an ultimatum…”
Who would know to look at her that she had a story like this to tell? She was older than me, but you had to look closely to tell. Well turned out. Under her Chloe trench, she was wearing a silk man-cut shirt and her skirt was fabulous; tight, but conservative-until you saw the thigh-high slit; office, but sexy.
“And your little girl? Did you get her back?”
“Yes, a few days later, but something had shifted inside me. I was terrified my ex would do it again, so I wrote to Jamie and finished with him.”
I think of me and Max. And of pride, loss, need, love, fear…
“Why didn’t you tell Jamie? Give him the ultimatum?” I ask.
“If he wanted us, he’d look for us, but I’d moved house, you see. A fresh start,” she says. “Really, I didn’t give him a chance.”
I know exactly what she means.
“And you haven’t seen him since?”
“Not for want of trying,” she answers.
She’s like a swan; it’s all going on beneath the surface.
“Did you marry again?”
“Years later…It didn’t last.”

She stares beyond me. I can see the little pain lines etching her face. I look away and busy myself stirring my cold Latte, as though I’m about to drink it.

I didn’t know that she’d been married twice? She likes a challenge!
Ros starts talking again, almost as if she doesn’t want to.
“I made sure that no one would ever again be able to accuse me of putting anybody before my child. I got remarried for security, though I was fond of my husband. I thought that would be enough, but…
“So I concentrated on my career. Maybe too much; I burnt out, got sick. Years of living a lie, I suppose. I had a breakdown. Quite severe. Hospitalised. Stupid really…”
I don’t know what to say. It’s quiet in here today. The kids behind the counter are ignoring us, which means they’re probably hanging onto our every word. I wait for Ros to speak.
“I felt an overwhelming sense of loss… failure…” she continues. “Anyway, I packed the two suitcases and left…Again,” she says and grimaces. “I decided I wasn’t cut out for relationships.”
“And did you stay single?” I ask.
“Didn’t seem much point in setting myself up to fail again,” she says. “I stayed single”

I think about this as I go to the counter for two more coffees – there is no way either of us is going home just yet. I pick up two Danish for good measure.

“So, how did you find him?” I ask as I sit down.
“Friends Reunited. Ridiculous, isn’t it?”
I wonder whether to tell Ros about Max, but…I decide to let her tell her story.
“Are you trying to tell me that you still love Jamie?”
“I never stopped.”

She picks icing covered currants from her pastry and lines them up along the edge of her plate.

“What makes you think he feels the same about you, Ros?”
She doesn’t answer. She merely wipes her fingers.

“Did he look for you?” I eventually ask her.
“He looked; even after he married.”
Whoa! All my ‘wronged-party’ views are returning. Married? You don’t mess with married men.
“Then how can you…?”
The loudness of my voice makes Ros jump.
My friend the stranger.
“And you still want him? Even though..?” I can’t help asking.
I wonder just how much pain she’s willing to cause.
“Even though,” she answers.
Women don’t hurt each other. Men do that for us.

She rubs pieces of the sticky serviette between her fingers until little balls form. I watch her flicking them on to the floor.

“I don’t know how not to want him,” she continues. “I’ve loved him over half my life. I don’t care if he’s married, I deserve him …” Her voice trails away.
“And her… What about his wife?” I ask. “How long has she loved him? What does she deserve?”
“Don’t,” she says staring me straight in the eye, “don’t judge me.”
I look away.

“You told me once, years ago, that you met Max at work.”
It’s my turn to be quiet.
“And when you thought Max was being unfaithful you threw him out. You maybe fought with him, but did you fight for him? Or did you treat it as though it was inevitable, a pattern repeating itself?”
She looks directly at me.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that you were that secretary, the first time around, you know…”
And it’s true. I perch very precariously on the moral high ground.
“Do you know what it’s like to wake alone on your 50th birthday and the only card you get wishes you a happy birthday and invites you for a mammogram?” she finishes.
Something else I didn’t know about her.
I wonder if my eyes fill up for her or me. I wish I could promise her a happy-ever-after with this man she’s loved for so long.
“Don’t do what I did. Don’t run away,” she says. “Life’s for now, not forever.”
You know when you’ve heard the same phrase or saying, or a variation of it, so many times that you stop listening to it? Well, Ros’ words hit me like an assassin’s bullet.
She’s right when she says ‘suspect’ about Max’s affair; I was judge and jury to an offence that may never have taken place. I have ruined the best thing that ever happened to me; and for what? What was I doing? I used to worry that he would leave me, go back to his wife…, but then I told him to go?

We sit watching the pastries hardening on a plate in front of us.

“So, will you meet him?” I ask.
“Truthfully? I think yes…And then I get scared…”
“You mean you won’t?” I interrupt
“But then I think about the next twenty five years without him…” she continues. “When I first came in to meet you, I would have crawled over broken glass to be with him, but now…You think I’m wrong to see him again, don’t you?”
What can I say? That I understand? That sorting my own life out, let alone anyone else’s, is like plaiting fog? That I’m in the same boat; so scared of being hurt, that I’m hurting myself? That she’s made me realise I’ve been busy pulling drawbridges up behind myself just like she has…
What if she and Jamie get together and then he leaves her and goes back to his wife?
I suppose, it’s a risk she’ll have to take. Like me.
Ros is right; life is for now, not forever.
I reach out and take her hand in mine.
“Don’t let anything I’ve said put you off, Ros. Don’t let his anything stand in the way. Let’s face it; if he was happy he wouldn’t be looking, would he?”
I can hardly believe the words that are pushing and shoving to get out of my mouth. Soon I’ll have to admit I didn’t make Max happy. Speak of my raw ache to have children, my resentment of his.
Max was only putting his kids first, giving them breathing space to get used to us. It wasn’t because he didn’t want me to have his children; I only had to wait a while.
I look up and see Ros intently watching me, but she doesn’t ask what I’m thinking about.
And I could have waited; I had a few years left on my biological clock. Instead, I sulked him through the door and he had a sleepover with his secretary.
He may have bedded her, he may have spent all night talking to her; I don’t know. I never let him explain. When he came home the next day I was out and his things were in the hall. I’m nothing if not efficient, he used to say, his dream secretary. I’d left a note giving my solicitors name… I’ve not seen him since.

She stands and takes a ten pound note out of her purse and puts it on the table.
“Same time next week?” she says. The door closes behind her

The staff are keen to finish their day. A girl with full lips, the colour of Ashes of Roses, is checking her eye makeup in the mirror behind the counter.
“Have I got panda eyes?” she asks a boy who’s wiping a cloth over the coffee machine’s steel casing with one hand, as he punches a text message into his phone with the other.
“Shall we do the floor now, or leave it until tomorrow morning?” she says
“Tomorrow. I’ve got places to go…”
“…people to see!” she finishes for him and laughs.
Weekend fever. I take pity on them and leave.

It’s still raining. I like the way the lights shining from the shop windows are diffused by the drizzle.
On the corner of the street I see Ros getting into a taxi. Her patent stilettos gleam; if she was closer, I know that I’d see little balls of rolled up serviette sticking to them. As the car pulls away I see the hem of her trench-coat trapped in the door.
I try to remember when she is supposed to meet Jamie and wonder whether she will. I hope she does. I realise I am happy for her.
I decide to walk home.
Supper. Chicken or fish? How long it is since I’ve tasted any difference between the frozen meals I buy. I should be better organised and batch-bake or something.
I try to compose a mental shopping list that will result in my freezer bursting with healthy, wholesome food. It defeats me. I’m only avoiding thinking about the things we talked about tonight. And the things we didn’t.
Puddles reflect the street’s flashing neon signs; cerise, lime green, Daytona yellow and electric blue, orange from the street lamps.
Rain, in perfect rhythm with the tap, tap, tap of my heels on the pavement, drips from my hair down the back of my neck. I know that tomorrow, when I look in the mirror, I will regret walking, but for now I enjoy it.
The closer I get to home the quieter it becomes.
I can see the flats from here. None of the windows glow warmly. Wheelie-bins still stand where they were left for emptying three days ago. A car’s lights pin point the diamond brightness of the eyes of a bedraggled cat sheltering under our overgrown privet hedge.
Someone has left the front door open. It will mean silver slug trails on the mat tomorrow morning.
Why don’t people ever treat flats like proper homes? It’s all right for those who are just pausing before they take up their real lives; become couples, with children maybe, and pets, in houses like Max and I once lived in. Some of us are not just passing through.
I close my door behind me, pleased to be home. I kick off my heels and throw my coat over a chair.
I like the effect; it’s always too tidy in here.
A flashing red light on the phone teases. Voicemail. I resist listening and go into the bathroom. I uncap some Arpege and watch as it trickles under steaming taps.

A glass of wine, I think.

I lie back in the fragrant water and start to soak the week from my head. The condensation on my glass reminds me of the café windows. And the tears that we both pretended hadn’t trickled from our eyes.

The little red light tempts. I still resist.

If it’s Max he’ll ring back.

Or maybe he’ll…

I quickly tuck my cotton pyjamas back into the drawer and take the peach silk nightdress and wrap from the armoire. They smell of happiness when I press them to my face. Traces of a velvet summer evening, Sancerre and anniversary food.
Aftershave.
©theeditoffice 2013

NaWriPoMo Hull Royal

I don’t know how long I stand
at the hospital’s tenth floor window,
watching headlamps, like fairy lights,
blur in rain stained windows
Hearing the intermittent sounds

of sirens and soft-soled, respectful, feet.
Your jagged breath.
Stifling thoughts of gently
forcing a pillow, over your mouth.
Reflected in the pane I see

a littered table ..Swabs to unparch
your mouth, unstick your eyes.
A booklet titled ‘Pathway’
detailing the course from living to dead.

I see your bony angles
throw unnatural shadows.
the wet-sand colour of your skin
the heave of your chest,
Your jagged breath.

©theeditoffice 2013

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