Books Magazine

Please Don't Travel Down This Road.

By Ashleylister @ashleylister

(CURTAIN UP:  We are inside a modern coffee shop with low warm lighting.  Action bustles behind while Louise sits curled up on the sofa, slowly sipping from a large mug, flicking lazily through a magazine.  Spotlight on Louise as she looks up and talks directly to us.)
LOUISE:  Do you ever have one of those days where you just have to get a cup of coffee, find a soft seat and ignore the world?  If not, you want to try, it’s amazing the thinking you can get done when you stand still, just for a moment, no talking, no rushing to a deadline, just taking stock.  It’s funny to think how calming a large cup of something with extra espresso can be.  I’m sure I should be wired.  Maybe it’s the milk?
I’m crashing into a wall, right into one of my lows today.  Haven’t had one for a while, but when they start coming, best thing you can do is get out of the house or end up stuck in, unable to face crossing the threshold at a later stage, when the tumbling gray fogs of nothingness move in and overtake even the happiest of thoughts.  I’m o.k. though, functioning normally.  That deep, echoing, cavernous hole of loneliness and pain isn’t visible from the outside.  I can pass for normal, for human.
I'm pretty normal most of the time actually. I have friends, family, a job. I'm a student, I work, I love a good night out with mates and throwing back throat burning shots.  Bad days, I'm not so normal.  I sit in a dark room and cry.  I get angry at everything.  I go to work with an artificial grin and only let it crack on the bus home.
On the inside I guess I’m not fine, but I will be later so I’m not worrying too much for now.  I’m going to enjoy one more coffee before I head out.  I’ve painted my nails, done my hair.  Even put my best knickers on - like my mom says, always wear clean and decent panties because you never know when you’ll be hit by a bus.

Those roads we choose to walk down are fraught with peril.  I mean imagine having to always wear nice knickers in case a taxi veers round a corner or a bus driver stops paying attention.  Left and right.  Right and left.  Double check, triple check before you cross.  If you don't you could end up with your brains spilling out on the tarmac with the paramedics assessing the state of your under-crackers.

I've taken so many bad paths, made the wrong choice at the forks in the road.  It's easy to say I'm the person I am today because of those experiences, but what if I don't like the person I am today.  All I have ever wanted to be is happy, and yet...

I'm not sure why I get like this, why I lie in bed at night and feel the slow, cooling sensation of tears tumbling across my face, wiping them before they reach my ears.  It's really annoying if they go in my ears.  Tickles, sort of.  I prefer the tears to the anger though.  I hold onto my anger until it melts to sadness.  If I forget, I get mad and bad things happen. 
I stuck two fingers up at a stranger in public today for driving like an idiot.  She flipped the bird first, but then before I thought what I was doing, fury caught me off guard and up went the fingers in a flourishing gesture, accompanied by manic giggling.  I could feel a snarl busting through the laughter and panicked.  So I went shopping before for a bit of distraction.  Got this gorgeous brown belt.  Seems a shame to put something so pretty to such a use, but I needed something.  I was going to get some pretty dangly earrings too, but looking at them I just felt sad, they were shimmering, coated glass in a cheap metal setting, a fake, a cheap knock off with a shiny exterior.  
(Music starts to play.)
Hear that?  Learn to Fly.  The Foo’s, can’t beat a bit of Grohl.  Good time to call it a day.  I hope the lighting fixture in my room is strong enough.  I don’t want to botch this.  I wonder if I need to jump to break my neck or if just hanging there will be enough?  I tried googling it but if people are writing about it then it obviously didn’t work for them or they never tried it because there is a distinct lack of detail.  

Carl’s coming over later to drop off my laptop, so at least it won’t be Mum who finds me.

Better get on with it then.
(Louise takes a last gulp of her coffee, exits stage left.  Lights fade to black)

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