Confession: The Hours
A windowless room. A woman. Hair a bit unbrushed. In need of a wash. Hugs a cardigan around herself and shifts in her seat like she’s waiting for someone else to come into the room. Only she’s not, and they never do. She has the joyless feel of someone who is permanently preoccupied. The intermittent frown of a woman, who, every now and then, doesn’t quite remember who she is.
I did this thing, and (pause) It was one of those things you do and afterwards, you go, “Why’d I do that?” And the truth is (pause) I don’t think there was any way round it. Any alternative. It just (pause) I didn’t have a choice (pause) there was no (pause) conceivable (pause, she’s trying to find a clearer way of expressing herself, but can’t) way round it.
He worked at the end of the lane, about a mile from here. Just one straight road. And I had to pass him if I wanted to go anywhere.
The first time I saw him (pause) he was standing by the road. Smoking. And he looked at me. Gave me that look. Because men don’t (pause) they don’t see this (gestures vaguely, haphazardly to herself), they don’t see women as (Pause, hesitates, thinks) people, or as equals…they assess us. Give us the once over. See if we’re worth a second glance. Or a, or a (scrambles for the right words) whistle. Or some (pause, then gathers momentum, something in her sparks a moment of anger that never quite reaches boiling point) comment. We’re just here, for them to choose whether or not to lift us up and smack us down. We’re here for them. To make ourselves look pretty. For them. We should be grateful for the words they yell to. To. Underage girls in school skirts. Out the window of their work vans. And It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t make a difference. If a woman says, ‘that’s not how I am, I don’t let them treat me that way.’ it doesn’t make a f-(almost swear) difference. Or change the fact that that’s how they see you. That’s still how they’ll want to treat you. By default. And that won’t change.
Men get to rule the world.
Women survive it.
(pause, her outburst has left her even more exhausted.)
Except the ones who don’t survive. Except the ones who are. Killed. Or, or, raped, or murdered.
By a man.
Or the girls who commit suicide. Who have a list as long as my arm of reasons why they did it.
I wonder how many of those reasons could be traced back to a man.
And it’s worse if you’re a gay woman. It’s worse ‘cause then the rape jokes are acceptable. Expected. And you’re supposed to just laugh. Or (pause, trails off.) but when it’s every day. When it’s every day that you get followed, or you get. Some. Crude…(stops herself, glances away) all those hours, all those days spent never leaving the house because I knew he was there. I
Knew he came up, on his lunch breaks. Sat on the wall outside just looking. I could see him from the kitchen window.
And I told people. I told the police. And they gave him a warning. Told him it was (pause, slightly mocking in the manner of someone who is too exhausted to put too much effort in) probably not a good idea.
That just made him worse.
And then one night he followed me. (pause, collects herself) I was driving back from a night out. With friends.
It was my birthday.
And I could see his headlights behind me, and I knew it then. What I was going to do.
So I invited him in.
Because if I hadn’t invited him, he would’ve come in anyway. It was safer, for me, if he thought I was up for it. (Pause) Think that says a lot. About him. About…men.
So I got him a drink. A bottle of beer. And I knew what I was doing (pause) hadn’t planned it. But I knew that if I did it. It would be over. All of this (pause) shit. (pause)
With him anyway.
And…so I poured the morphine I still had left in the cupboard from when my wife was dying. In it. In the bottle. And. Something else. Don’t remember what. Something from the vets. Pain relief they gave me for the dog when she got her foot caught in one of those fox traps.
I just poured them in and gave it to him. Hoped it wouldn’t taste like shit.
(pause) We sat on the sofa, and while he drank it he told me he’d always known I’d give in eventually and let him in. (pause) That I’d always wanted it.
It didn’t take long. (pause) A few minutes? I don’t know. He just looked like he was sleeping. His eyes rolled a bit. Then he just laid there until I couldn’t see him breathing anymore.
(pause. Shifts in her seat.)
I sat in the room with him all night. In case he woke up. But by the morning he’d turned this weird grey sort of color and his hands were stiff.
That night I had a bonfire. With him in the middle.
And I put his bones. The bits of him I could find. In a bag, in the garbage.
(pause. An afterthought.)
The police never came.
(pause. To justify herself.)
It’s like that line from that film, Meryl Streep…Nicole Kidman with the…fake nose. Don’t remember the name. But it’s like she said, Nicole Kidman, with the (gestures to her nose, her face)
“What does it mean to regret when you had no choice?”
Influenced by David Bowie, Virginia Woolf and Sally Wainwright, Elinora Lord is a lesbian writer of stage, screen, fiction, poetry and radio from the UK. Her novel, Everland has been selected for the Penguin and Random House WriteNow 2021 Editorial Programme, and her short films have been selected by Pinewood Studios & Lift-Off Sessions, Cannes Film Festival, Raindance Film Festival, Camden Fringe Festival and Edinburgh Fringe Festival, while her theatre shows have been performed in London’s West End and on Broadway, where she won the award for Best Monologue.