Things Unsaid (dramatic sketch)

[ANNE lies, apparently asleep, on a single bed in a teenager’s bedroom. Journals are scattered all over the floor, and boxes are stacked against the walls of the room. A model boat and an enormous alarm clock sit on top of a chest of drawers. For no apparent reason, ANNE sits bold upright and fumbles for the switch and turns the bedside table lamp on. Once the room is bathed in light, ANNE catches sight of MAN occupying the shadows in the darkest corner of the room.] 

ANNE:   You shouldn’t be here.

[Silence. ANNE pulls the duvet up in order to cover herself.]

You always turn up when I least expect you.

[The enormous alarm clock goes off. It sounds like a siren. ANNE wraps the duvet around herself and darts out of bed. She clumsily flings herself across the room and turns the alarm clock off.]

[Regaining composure] You’ve caught me off guard. I’m not a morning person, you know that.

[Silence.]

Don’t say anything. Not a thing, you understand?

MUM:   [O/S] Are you awake yet?!

ANNE:   [Shouts.] Yes!

MUM:   [O/S] Do you want some tea?

ANNE:   [Shouts.] No!

MUM:   [O/S] Eh?!

ANNE:   [Shouts.] Thank you! No, thank you!

MUM:   [O/S] Yes to tea?

ANNE:   [Shouts.] No, no to tea! NO TO TEA! No THANK YOU to tea!

[ANNE starts getting ready. As she potters around, she continues addressing MAN].

Remember the deadline we set? Was it you or me who tore that up? You. Probably you. We do nothing but talk crap. Like this was ever going to be so simple. Deadline, ha! Yeah we knew that wouldn’t happen the moment we – the moment you suggested it.

[She starts getting dressed, albeit clumsily in a bid to not expose herself.]

The other day I went to this cliff. There’s a cliff near here. Famous one apparently. National Trust stamped all over it. And as I was walking along the edge, I looked down – not over the edge, on the ground I mean – I wasn’t thinking about jumping off or anything – and your name was there. Written in pebbles. Or lumps of chalk. On the grass. I mean, how ridiculous is that? Some arsehole had written your name in little stones on a cliff edge. I mean, what’s that about?

[Pause.]

You’re everywhere. Haunting me and my every cultural endeavour, that’s what that’s about.

[ANNE has chosen an inappropriate shirt. She furiously unbuttons it and throws it aside. She hasn’t got time to be self-conscious. She decides to get into her tights and leaves the shirt decision for the time being.]

And you know that song we’re not supposed to have? Well it comes on the radio all the time. And just so we’re very clear – I blame you.

[At this point, she’s struggling with her tights. She rips them and curses… and with new found fury, she lets herself go.]

I want to tell you I love you. And that I hate it. I hate that I want to tell you and I hate that I do. I hate loving you. For ages I trained myself to keep you at arm’s length, to keep my distance, to remember that I am nothing but a blip. Not even a blip. I am nothing. To you.  I’m everything to myself and everyone else; don’t get me wrong I haven’t got confidence issues. But to you, I’m nothing –

[MAN makes to interrupt.]

No don’t say anything. I need to believe that. I need to believe you think nothing of me otherwise my heart will burst.

[ANNE laughs at herself.]

God, that’s cheesy. See, this is what you do to me. I’m never cheesy.

MUM:   [O/S] What are you doing up there?!

ANNE:   [Under her breath.] Fuckssake… [Shouts.] It’s ok, I’m getting ready; I won’t be late… I can’t think when you keep yelling up the stairs!!

MUM:   [O/S] You don’t need to think – just put some bloody clothes on!

[Brief pause.]

MUM:   [O/S] Remind me what this is for?

ANNE:   [Shouts.] He said try writing it so I’m writing it!

MUM:   [O/S] I can’t hear you.

ANNE:   [Shouts.] Nothing! Nothing! Please go away… I’ll be down in a minute.

MUM:   [O/S] I’ll get the car out then.

[ANNE calms herself down.]

[To MAN. ] Sorry about that.

[Brief pause.]

[She speaks while putting a new pair of tights on.] Remember that story I told you? The one that made your eyes glisten? Well I don’t think we can have that. I’ve been thinking about it and I don’t think we can. We – I mean I knew what I signed up for. But it’s not, it’s not what I want, this isn’t what I signed up for. Well I did but I didn’t know it at the time. I didn’t know I didn’t want it at the time. Does that make sense?

[She realises the tights have a ladder.]

God it’s too fucking early for this! Did I mention I’m not a morning person? [She becomes more manic.] I’m a night owl and I can’t do this shit!

[She takes a few minutes to get all her clothes on. While ANNE puts on the final garments, she catches MAN looking at a photograph in a frame on the wall.]

Don’t look at that. It was light years ago and it’s not supposed to be up there.

[She catches MAN looking at the boxes.]

[Indicating the boxes.] This is just a temporary measure.

[Pause.]

[Indicating the photo.] That ring cost me a small fortune. Shame it’s floating along somewhere in the Med now. That was the day I had to wear a polo neck at work and pretend to laugh along at the love bite jokes. No idea why we took a fucking picture.

[She turns her back on the photo and goes to put the final garment on.] Why are you there in the dark? Why are you even here?

[MAN doesn’t answer.]

You remind me of a night terror. No offence. I just mean like when I’d sit up bold upright and swear to god there was somebody in the corner of the room. And I’d be there staring at the corner with eyes wide open. Part of me knew I was hallucinating at the time, I think. I must have known really. That’s why I willed myself – or willed my eyes to let the image go. So I could be alone again. And get back to sleep.

MUM:   [O/S] COME ON, SHIFT YOUR CHASSIS!

ANNE:   [Shouts.] I can’t put my face on in the car, Mum!

[Pause.]

[To MAN…] Are you going to fucking say something?

MUM enters stage right. MUM cannot see MAN.

MUM:   Who are you talking to?

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