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Moving from Room to Room: A Short Play by Abigail George

Image: remix
Image: remix





SETTING: Somewhere in the Northern Areas, Port Elizabeth.


Mr. Anthony: Luvvy, dance with me. I will put our favourite record on or play the radio.

Mrs. Anthony: No, I do not feel like it. It will not make me forget anything about what has happened today. How that Afrikaner police officer harasses us every day. Every day he comes here and asks us, ‘When are you moving, hey? When are you moving? You think you’re rich or something?’

Mr. Anthony: I will help you to forget. I want you to feel like a kid again. I want you to dream again, luvvy, is that so hard, just to dream? I will hold you tight like I did on our wedding day. It felt as if we both were floating on the dance floor. You drifted in my arms like a dream. I can even remember your perfumed hair, your white dress.

Mrs. Anthony: No. I said no. I am not in the mood.

Mr. Anthony: We have to christen this new house in some way. Come on, I will get you in the mood.

Mrs. Anthony: We have so much to do and we still have to get rid of many things we do not need or are going to use in the future. We have too much stuff, that is what we have. We have to unpack all those boxes. Just leave me alone, Frank. For now, I just want to be alone with my thoughts.

Mr. Anthony: It is not good for you. You know that.

Mrs. Anthony: Do not lecture me.

Mr. Anthony: I am not lecturing you.

Mrs. Anthony: And do not talk to me in that tone of voice.

Mr. Anthony: I do not have a tone in my voice, Mrs. Anthony.

Mrs. Anthony: You want me to understand now that is how our life is going to be until the day I die. Every day I will die a little in this house.

Mr. Anthony: You know, my heart is broken too but they say home is where the heart is. We must make the best of it.

Mrs. Anthony: So here, we both sit with our hearts broken.

Mr. Anthony: You still look as beautiful as the first day I met you.

Mrs. Anthony: Sweet nothings are only made for some people, fools.

Mr. Anthony: I remember the dress and the sandals that you were wearing as if it was yesterday, that was the very first day I saw you.

Mrs. Anthony: Cupid, you are whispering sweet nothings to me like you did when you were wooing me in South End again.

Mr. Anthony: I love you and that is all that matters. I want you to know that so I am going to keep reminding you of that fact.

Mrs. Anthony: And all that will happen is that in the future we will move from room to room, bumping into each other, bumping into furniture, Mr. Anthony. Bumping into the kitchen table next to the king-size bed. Our elbows hitting the wardrobe.

Mr. Anthony: Have we failed at making a beautiful life? I just wanted to make you happy, Betty. Every day of our married life I wanted to make you smile.

Mrs. Anthony: You do not understand. I need to see the sea. I just have a heavy feeling.

Mr. Anthony: I have failed you, Betty and I am sorry.

Mrs. Anthony: There is something about that ocean. A river is a river but an ocean is like land, filled with life. You can observe it from afar. It anchors me in a way to this conceited earth.

Mr. Anthony: Imagine if you did not feel that way.

Mrs. Anthony: In some way, I felt connected to all the citizens of South End.

Mr. Anthony: Everybody who left sacrificed something.

Mrs. Anthony: But what happens on the first morning I wake up in this matchbox of a house and I do not get to see that sea view in the morning.

Mr. Anthony: We pray and if you really want to go and see that view, we will get on a bus and go there.

Mrs. Anthony: I will not ever get to see that morning light ever again, gulls that hover, smell and taste the salt in the light, watch the water suck my feet into the sinking sand as it spills, rolls over and washes away again.

Mr. Anthony: We will get through this one day at a time.

Mrs. Anthony: What about my Muslim friends? I will never see them again. They are scattered here, there, everywhere.

Mr. Anthony: Betty, you are thinking too much.

Mrs. Anthony: What about teaching Sunday school?

Mr. Anthony: I know you miss having children around you.

Mrs. Anthony: What about finding a church, and how do we praise and worship? There are no churches built yet on this side of the world.

Mr. Anthony: We will find a church.

Mrs. Anthony: Where do we fit in all of a sudden and how are you going to find work?

Mr. Anthony: Things will work out in their own time. We will make new friends.

Mrs Anthony: I need to walk on the beach.

Mr. Anthony: Have some cake.

Mrs. Anthony: I am not hungry.

Mr. Anthony: I will put it away for later then. Tomorrow it will be stale.

Mrs. Anthony: I do not have an appetite for anything anymore. I am not happy here.

Mr. Anthony: I know, dear. I know.

Mrs. Anthony: I do not hear the sound of children playing in the street anymore.

Mr. Anthony: I am going to put the kettle on now.

Mrs. Anthony: I do not think there are any children on this side of the world.

Mr. Anthony: Darling, you are so precious to me.

Mrs. Anthony: I miss the sound of children playing.

Mr. Anthony: Darling, did you hear what I said?

Mrs. Anthony: I miss the laughter, Frank.

Mr. Anthony: We will make new friends, Betty.

Mrs. Anthony: I do not want new friends.

Mr. Anthony: I will bring some cake with your tea.

Mrs. Anthony: I do not hear any children playing in the street as I used to in South End. Where have all the children gone, Mr. Anthony?

Mr. Anthony: Shush. Hush now (Mrs. Anthony sits with her hands folded in her lap).

Mrs. Anthony: You do not think that there is anything wrong with this picture, with us?

Mr. Anthony: I will make us some tea, love.

Mrs. Anthony: In all this dust, Mr. Anthony, where is your head?

Mr. Anthony: Betty, you have not eaten a proper meal for days.

Mrs. Anthony: I am not hungry.

Mr. Anthony: I will cut up an orange for you and you can eat the segments or I will go out and buy some fruit. There is a man who has set up a stall selling fruit and vegetables at the corner of Beetlestone road.

Mrs. Anthony: Do not leave me alone. I am scared to be alone. I cannot stand being by myself. I would probably start talking to the walls. I would go crazy.

Mr. Anthony: I am worried about your health, your wellbeing.

Mrs. Anthony: I do not want any tea. I am not thirsty.

Mr. Anthony: Just drink it anyway and you will see it will be good for you.

Mrs. Anthony: Do you care? Do you even care?

Mr. Anthony: I do. You know I do.

Mrs. Anthony: I do not think you really do.

Mr. Anthony: We are old now Betty. It is time for the new generation to take up this internal struggle.

Mrs. Anthony: We did not struggle. We just gave up, gave in. We did not even put up a fight. We lost, did we not? And the government won.

Mr. Anthony: You know how violent the authorities are, the authorities. They throw people in jail and throw away the key. Sometimes they come back, emotionally damaged, disturbed, tortured, wounded, interrogated and sometimes they do not come back at all.

Mrs. Anthony: No, no, no (puts her hands over her ears). I do not want to know. You know I do not want to know. Those boys were like my own sons; part of my soul, as if they had a part of me, my spirit. Do not talk about them like that (she hisses).

Mr. Anthony: Let us go outside for a bit before the sun sets.

Mrs. Anthony: I see what you are doing.

Mr. Anthony: What am I doing (he genuinely smiles at her)?

Abigail George
Abigail George
South African Abigail George is a blogger, essayist, short story writer, screenwriter, novelist, and poet. She briefly studied film in Johannesburg. She has two film projects in development and is the recipient of two grants from the National Arts Council, one from the Centre for the Book and another from ECPACC. Her publishers are Tendai Rinos Mwanaka (Zimbabwe, Mwanaka Media and Publishing or Mmap), Xavier Hennekinne (Australia/New Zealand, Gazebo Books), and Thanos Kalamidas (Finland, Ovi). Her literary representative is Morten Rand. She is a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net nominated, and European Union Poetry Prize longlisted poet. Her poem “The Accident” was Identity Theory's Editor's Choice for Spring. Ink Sweat and Tears chose her poem “When light poured into me at the swimming pool” as a September Pick of the Month, and she recently made the shortlist of the Writing Ukraine Prize 2023. She is a poet/writer who believes in the transformative, restorative and healing powers of words. Her latest book is Letter To Petya Dubarova (Australia/New Zealand, Gazebo Books). Young Galaxies (a poetry book) was released in 2023 from Mmap and a memoir When Bad Mothers Happen is forthcoming. “Clarissa, Hector and Septimus Redefined” was recently published by Novelty Fiction in Kindle format.

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