Tuesday, 16 August 2016

A play ~

ACT ONE

The curtains rise. A girl sits in the waiting room of her therapist's office. Her name is T. She is wearing clothes that are several sizes too big for her but the fabric is still pressing against her and reminding her that she is fat fat fat. She is crying already but she doesn't know why.

Her therapist enters. His name is M.

M: Hey, T. Please come through.

She rises. Unsteady. She doesn't look at him or wait for him as she stumbles her way into his office. She grabs a handful of tissues before she sits down. Her eyes continue to leak.

He enters the room. Closes the door. She can feel his eyes on her. She grips the scarf she is using like a shield against her chest and says nothing.

M: Hey. Hey now. What's wrong.

T: Searches for her voice. Fails to find it.

M: What's happened?

T: Error 404: Voice Not Found. Tears, however, have been located. The source of the eye leak is unknown.

M: T?

T: Curls over and pretends she doesn't exist.

T, internally: Just make words happen just make words happen oh my God just make words happen.

This continues for several minutes until finally...

T, barely a whisper: I don't think I can speak today.

M: I can see that. How long have you been this anxious for? When last did you sleep? When last did you eat?

T: I don't
I don't
I don't
know

M: Okay. It's okay.

Silence.

M: Do you know why you're so anxious?

T: Leaks harder. Claws the skin off her arms to make the leaking stop. Her arms start to bleed. It helps, a little.

T: I am...I think I am...I am angry.

M: Why are you angry?

Silence. She reaches for more tissues. Her hair shield is wet and gross and plastered to her salt water covered face.

T: I am angry at me.

M waits. She knows this dance. She has to fill the silence.

T: I am angry at myself. I am angry that I texted you last week. I am angry that I went to see my dietician anyway after all that. I am angry at my weight. I am too big and fat and ugly and disgusting to be out in public. I feel...I feel...

Her voice disappears again.

M: You saw your dietician? I didn't think you would.

T: Nods.

M: How did it go?

T, with the volume turned way down: I...I... I told him that I don't see why I should I continue to see him. I told him that I am wasting his time.

M: What did he say about that?

T: He said that it is his choice to make.

M: Laughs.

M: Does that sound familiar?

T: Yeah. I hate you both.

M: Laughs more.

M: What else did he say?

T: He said that I need a higher level of care. That I need to be in hospital or residential treatment and that he is taking steps to make that happen.

M: Did that freak you out?

T, Counting. Counting. Counting. Clawing. Clawing. Clawing: No. He's been saying that for a long time now. I don't think he can make it happen.

M: Silence. Then,

M: Do you think you need a higher level of care?

T: No. I'm fine.

M: You're not fine. You know my stance on things, yeah?

T: Nods.

M: I would love to see receive a higher level of care. I would love to see you get some more help, which isn't about punishing you or hurting you. It's about keeping you safe. We need to keep you safe. We need to get your weight back on track so we can work on the other things.

Counting. Counting. Counting.
Her hands are wet and dirty.
Dumb animal husbandry.

M: Was it as bad as you thought it would be, seeing him?

T: Yes.

M: Laughs.

M: What made you decide to go?

T: I spend so long being so afraid of it that I just wanted to get it over and done with.

M: What made it bad?

T: This is going to sound dumb but he looks at me a lot. I know that is his way of trying to gauge what I might weigh and how much weight I've lost since I refuse to get onto the scale, but I don't like it. And he touches me.

M: He touches you?

T: Yeah. Like my hands and shoulders. He says it's his way of gauging my level of edema and muscle wastage.

M: Does he ask your permission?

T: No.

M: And it freaks you out?

T: Yes.

Silence. The plumber inside her head has fixed her eyes and they are no longer leaking. He has built a dam.

M: Is there anything that I do that freaks you out?

T: Silence.

M: It's not going to offend me. It would help me to know so I know how better to help you.

T: Well. There is one thing. But I don't want to say it.

M: Come on.

T: I can't.

M: Please?

T: I wrote the thing you asked me to write last week. I wrote about it in there.

M: Did you bring it?

T: Yes.

M: Can I read it?

T: Removes phone from pocket. Unlocks it. Hands it over.

M: Thank you.

There are several minutes of silence. T tries to disappear into the chair. The dam behind her eyes breaks and floods the room. Her voice leaves the building.

M: Did this all just come spewing out?

His voice is too far away to reach her. She is gone, gone, gone.

M: This isn't a criticism -- what you've written is fantastic -- but did you realize that it changes part of the way through? You go from being the therapist to just disclosing.

She is gone, gone, gone.

More silence. The audience is uncomfortable. Sometimes M asks questions. Sometimes M swears under his breath. T cries. And cries. And cries.

M: You brought it back. Fantastic. You wrote that it wasn't the girl's fault. Which part of that is bullshit?

T: No words no words no words.

M: Can you name the emotion you're feeling right now?

T: No words no words no words my lips taste like salt salt salt. I am sticky.

There's a knock at the door. M gets up. Thanks the person on the other side. Sits down with a blue blue blue mug in his hand.

M: Do you want a coffee? Black no sugar?

T: No words no words no words but I can shake my head. I think. Maybe. Okay. I can.

M: How many calories?

T: 2.

M: Laughs. Falls silent. Watches T as she vibrates a hole in the floor with her endless shaking.

M: Can we do a grounding exercise?

T: Does as she is told. Her words come back. The dam is in pieces. The plumbers try to fix it but it is useless unless useless. Her eyes leak the entire time. So does her nose. It is disgusting.

M, later: Can you tell me what you're feeling?

T: Well my eyes won't stop leaking.

M: That's called crying.

More time passes. More time than is hers to use. More time than he should be spending on someone as worthless as her.

Her eyes continue to leak.

M, later again: Did she really say that to you?

T: Yes.

M: What a fucking bitch.

More time. More silence. More leaks. They are drowning, by now. Surely they must be drowning.

Her heart hurts.

M, much, much later: Have you had enough for today?

T: Nods. Rubs her bloody fingernails on a tear stained tissue. Keeps her hands under her ScarfBlanketShield so he doesn't see.

M: Hey listen. Did you know that this is one of the few times that you...I'm not going to call it crying because I quite like the term Leaky Eyes. Did you know this is one of the few times that you've had leaky eyes in here?

T, still leaking: Is that a good thing?

M: Yes, because it means that you're connected to what's happening. You're working through it. The last few sessions you've shown real progress in terms of starting to work through this stuff.

T: Is mute.

M: Is lovely.

T: Leaks more.

M: Is still lovely.

The curtains fall.

END OF ACT ONE.

ACT TWO. HOURS LATER.

The curtains rise.

T: Is still leaking.

T: Is on the the treadmill.

T: Has 197 calories inside her and has decided that's enough. That's enough now.

T: Needs a plumber.

The curtains fall.

END OF ACT TWO.