by Niamh Bagnell
Setting: messy bedroom, blue-coloured dawn
Character: DAPHNE, greasy-haired 19-year-old
DAPHNE is reclining in the bed, holds her watch close to her face, and presses button on it so it glows for her to read the time.
Half bloody seven, why am I awake now? I’m even more wrecked than I was last night. Imagine. What’s the point in a night in the sack if you only wake up more wrecked?
(Reaches out, without sitting up. Flicks on the bedside light. Looks over at the locker.)
(Matter of factly) There’s a glass of water on the locker, where I left it.
Didn’t drink any last night.
(Looks again. DAPHNE struggles up onto her elbow.)
Since I’m looking more respectable, half sitting up and all, I might as well tell you. The name’s Daphne. I know. And Yes. My mother watched Scooby Doo. She reckons my Dad was like Scrappy. I know she means the insult. I’m the only one she had for him. My other siblings have common dads. Marlon was the best. He got three out of her. And she still loves him. Dying young has its compensations. Then me. Then she had two for Kevin, and two for Dillon, although they had to take turns, every second one. Still at least they all have real brothers and sisters. I’m only a half. Scrappy, like my Dad.
(Takes a sip from the glass)
Ugh… Mauldy. I remember now, didn’t even bring that up last night, it was from the night before. Last night I was a bit too wound up, even to think of it.
(Wipes at her chin)
My lips feel funny, my chin is all kind of… (she wipes at her lower cheeks, then sits up straighter)
Him. He kissed me. My god, my stomach’s jumping just thinking about it.
(Gulps at the water)
Oh, but… Pedro. It’s his night to call up and stay tonight. Poor Pedro. What would he think.
My head is tired, the brain is not able for all this.
(Flicks the light off, rolls over, trying to sleep some more.)
(Lighting changes to brighter yellow)
There’s the day starting now. There’s the buses, and the kids already screaming around the house, the bloody noise of them. (checks her watch again) Shouldn’t they be in school by 9.30? They should, but who’s gonna make ’em? Mam musta stayed out last night, with the latest.
(Some small bangs sound on the door)
That’s Little Joe, the smallest thing in the world, his little hands barely make a sound, but I’d know his knock anywhere. Know his kick too.
I’ll be up in a while. (shouted towards the door) You’re not coming in, go on and watch some TV!
He always wants to crawl in with me, for a cuddle, for a snooze. But he’s only trouble. The tiny little man, arms thin as a doll’s, he makes me think of things I don’t need to think of. It’s not his fault but I have to keep him at a distance.
I’ve enough to think of today. A whole world to think of. It’s crazy.
(Child can be heard crying quietly)
I can see without looking, his little face crumpled up in the agony of not being wanted, the bottom lip hanging out, his dead little eyes staring at the door. I know that feeling. His little shoulders shaking, as he makes his way downstairs, one step climbed down at a time. He’ll begin another round of that weird cough when he’s halfway down. It seems almost continuous, the cough. I think he’s got to be pretending, making it up—looking for attention. He even does a funny little sigh at the end, a huge breath in, comic really.
I’m gonna have to get up soon anyway. Darren will be back from the night shift, he’ll want the bed. I don’t want to leave it too warm for him. Creeps me out a bit having my half-brother, only a year younger, sleeping in my body heat. So when I get up, I’ll pull the duvet well back, to air it, might squirt a bit of Febreze on it. He kills me when I do that, says it stays wet in little drops. It’s true too, but I’m just trying. Want to make the place slightly less disgusting. Cover the smells. Like in the ad, bubbles of bad smells locked away—like bad thoughts, locked away in bubbles of whatever else you can put in your head to stop them.
copyright © 2010 Niamh Bagnell. All rights reserved. ___________________________________________
Niamh Bagnell is a member of Lucan Writers’ Group, poems published in Dermot Bolger’s Night & Day anthology as well as Revival Poetry Review. Niamh hosts a weekly writing-based radio show on Liffey sound, and has read her poetry at Castlepalooza, Electric Picnic, and as part of the Glór sessions presentation at Dun Laoghaire Festival of World Cultures. Niamh’s blog is variouscushions.blogspot.com.