- it was meant to be a film
Int. Flatshare. Morning. Late Summer.
An empty chair
- just that
- and the sound of two people
No words in reply, but we hear her laugh at what the other person is doing.
- then me
- pushing myself away
serious now No. It has to be you.
- I was watching the house martins in the wind
- the first time I told her
- and saw two collide and she said she’d seen the same thing
- happen with bats
- although it was hard to be sure
- because of the dark maybe
- the bats were the night twitching
- and she caught her salad against her chin with the back of her hand
- and struggled to get it all back in her mouth
- and I said that’s funny
- because twitching’s a name for what I was doing
- and even though it was
- the middle of the day
- it felt like talking in the early hours
- and I told her
- I like watching when they eat in films
- it always make me hungry
- I like how they hurry when they’ve taken too much
- and they can’t say what they want to say
- and how in cinemas rooms are called screens
- and how a film in a screen grabs distance
- in pleats
- maybe there’s a name for that too
- that way they can open it back out like a fan
- or fold it into the smallest spaces
- she asked me how it was going
the thing is
I don’t think that’s something I could do
We hear the sound of the room as they carry on getting ready. Hear Nia getting up. They move things around, not talking, not seeming to be doing anything. Then a door opens—
Back in a sec.
—and closes. Audrey waits, then moves through and sits on the empty chair, sheets of paper in her hand. She puts them on the floor, takes out her phone, holds it out in front to check how she looks, like she might see what we were seeing. She lowers her arm, begins to smile.
Int. Flatshare. Earlier That Day.
The same chair, in the same place, empty again. We hear another chair, creaking as it’s tilted back, then the tap back down of its feet on the floor.
well don’t then
- she had a way of refusing to hear me
- like she was washing my hands
- in hers
- called it
one more false start
- told me she’d just read them for me if she had to
- told me
- that could be my way of folding
like folding back in
- then all my variations