I daydream past my stop – By @HollyISThomas
By Holly Thomas
I daydream past my stop
My friend, Maura, bought me a book for Christmas. It’s so good it’s exhausting. Each sentence expands my mind so much that it makes me dehydrated. I was reading it on the tube and I ended up at the end of the line because I couldn’t put it down. I texted her to tell her so and she replied:
“You often miss your stop. It’s one of the things I love about you”
That made me very happy because it’s lovely to be loved. Especially for something that is inherently you and annoys most people. People like that make you think that it is a shame to change.
But for the first time in a while I missed my stop on purpose, so that I could hear the end of a conversation I was listening to. I was on the Northern line imagining what life would have been like if I had grown up on a dairy farm in America. When I reached the next platform the doors opened and in walked a mum, dad and daughter.
NOTHING TO SAY ON THE NORTHERN LINE A short play by me
CAST OF CHARACTERS
DAUGHTER: Around 17. Brooding eyes, dark eyeliner, heeled boots. MUM: Posh with sharp features. Cardigan and brown leather bag. DAD: Podgy. Small, spherical glasses. Telegraph in his hands.
The family step onto the carriage in good spirits. They sit. The parents sit next to each other, with their daughter opposite them. The dad begins to read The Telegraph, the mum idly flicks through a magazine.
Mum: Do you know who this woman is? Isn’t she lovely?
The mum extends the magazine to her daughter, with her thumb marking the face of a beautiful woman.
Daughter: Yes. It’s Emily Ratajkowski.
Mum: Well she’s very beautiful. Isn’t she beautiful darling?
Mum shows the magazine to her husband, who raises his eyes just above newspaper level to glance. His pupils dilate.
Daughter: She was in a music video called blurred lines. She’s basically professionally pretty.
Both parents have returned to their reading material. The daughter crosses her legs and begins to jiggle her foot aggressively. She is gearing up for something. A favour.
Daughter: You know how I’ve been interning at the vet for a month now? You know my favourite cat? Jenny?
Both parents peer harder at the words in front of them.
Daughter: Well you know how she’s super pregnant? No one will take her over the Christmas holidays.
Radio silence from the parents.
Daughter: And, well, the thing is, if they don’t find a home for her then she’ll be put on the streets. And she, and all of her kittens, will die… So I said we could take her for a while. Just until she’s reared the kittens!
Mum looks up so quickly that everyone on the carriage looks at her.
Mum: Don’t be ridiculous. That is absolutely absurd. Do not be ridiculous. That is completely insane.
Daughter: Why not! It’s only three months! Mum: Three months! No. Absolutely not. Daughter: Why not?
Mum: You must tell the vet you made a mistake. Daughter: Why?
Mum: Tell her no darling. There’s no way. Dad: No.
Daughter presses her hands together as if to pray.
Mum: You are ruining another wise lovely day. Now just shut up about it.
Daughter: No one else will take them. Do you want them to die mum is that what you want?
Mum: You are so naive. Of course the vet will find someone else. This is not your problem. Let somebody else fix it.
Daughter: Do you want me to get off the tube? Mum: Yes.
Daughter: Why don’t you get off the tube? Mum: I don’t want you to mention this again.
One stop later.
Daughter: But why can’t we? We have the space! It’s only one cat and nine kittens. You said you missed our cat now that she’s dead. Why do you always lie? You are so selfish.
The mum gets up and moves carriages. She is still staring at her magazine, but she hasn’t turned the page since the conversation began. The dad continues to read. Everyone on the carriage feels sad because we know that no-one is in the wrong. The daughter is young and is scared to think of kittens dying. She has a good heart and she shouldn’t be punished for that. But the mum is stretched thin enough already and knows she will end up doing the bulk of the kitten care. There’s a huge chasm between them – the gap between what is said, what isn’t said and what needs to be. They are both entrenched in their position, and neither one can seem to find a way out.