She is there.
— You must be looking for my sister – sorry. I’m the only one in the house today.
— No, I was looking for you.
— I know it’s odd. But I wanted to talk to you. You seem really – I want to get to know you.
I’ve never talked to anyone about this. It feels like you’re the only one I can trust. It’s just that, sometimes, it gets to me. And it’s hard to speak about.
— It must be pretty lonely
— You understand. I can talk to you. You’d never abandon me, would you? You’d never let go.
People always promise they’re never going to leave. But everyone always leaves. I can’t trust anyone not to leave. You have to promise.
— I promise. I promise. I don’t break promises.
— I hope your friends appreciate you.
Because they should. If they don’t appreciate you, you deserve better friends.
— They’re just – friends. It’s not a question of ‘appreciating’.
— Sounds to me like you can’t really trust them. You can’t lie to me. You don’t really trust them, do you? You need someone else. Someone better.
A school nurse, with a white coat and a tray of bandages and needles appears.
— I think we need a word, you and I.
Take a seat.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you what this is about. I’m sure you’re aware that the school has a duty of care over you .
So I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that it has come to our attention that you’ve been having sex with your boyfriend.
I’m sure he said you were doing the right thing. Older men are very – persuasive. It’s such an old story. We can help.
We’ve been watching you. That’s how we know.
— It’s not funny, it’s not funny, it’s not funny.
— You shouldn’t grow up thinking that sex has to feel like a violation.
— But it does. It never occurred to me until being with him that it’s possible to say no to something and not face any … repercussions. It’s possible to love someone and not hurt them through sex and I – it’s odd, suddenly knowing that someone’s going to listen to me when I speak. Like what I say matters, someone’s going to hear me.
She is laughing. And she is bitterly, bitterly angry.
— I was so close.
I could have jumped.
Don’t you see?
I needed to jump. I needed to feel real.
Can’t you see that?
I don’t feel like myself. This isn’t my skin, this isn’t my body. I hate this girl.
I reject her.
If this is me, I do not want to be myself. I no longer want to be.
It’s too hard to bring it all together.
— You didn’t jump. You didn’t jump.
— You stopped me.
— You didn’t jump.
— I wanted to.
— You want to be dead.
— I wanted to jump, not to die. I just wanted to fall.
— Why didn’t you let me go? Why did you catch me?
— I’m your friend. I want you to live.
— Why should I have to? It’s my choice. If I jump, I jump.
— Why are you so harsh to yourself?
— I went to the doctor. I tried to explain everything and he – he knew what I meant. And he gave me pills to help, only they made my hands not my hands, they divorced me even further from my body so that I sat staring at nothing because these fingers here, these are not my fingers.
And I spent a long, lonely night lying on my back and staring at the ceiling counting the shadows that flickered across the walls and trying to work out who I am and where I was. And then I had a thought.
And I thought that if this was not my body, it didn’t matter what happened to it. And if it didn’t matter what happened to this body, then it didn’t matter what happened to the person who got trapped in it by accident. And I laid my plans.
Because I didn’t – don’t want – won’t be trapped in this cage of skin any longer.
Shenis holding a knife. As she speaks she gestures.
I was going to take a knife, and hold it right against my ribs, and rip it up through and into my lungs. It was going to be so simple. Just a stab in the right place, just the soft crunch of the knife slipping into the skin and then – nothing.
Or I was going to run it into my stomach, or my womb, or maybe my throat, and just bleed quietly. It would be so quick. No-one would see a thing this time. No-one would stop it.
Because it all goes back, don’t you see? Everything always goes backwards to that one point. Everything since then has been building up from and up to that moment and it’s everything and nothing. It’s always behind me.
The stage is empty, apart from her. He is in the background, standing very still. It is almost impossible to see his face.
— Where have you been?
— You didn’t try and find me.
— How was I supposed to find you, I had no idea where you’d be.
— I’ve been sleeping rough.
— I wanted you to come and find me.
He presses the knife to her throat.
— You promised you’d never leave me. But I’m going to give you a second chance. You’re mine. So promise you’ll never leave.
— I promise.
— You’re all I have.
He strokes her hair and comforts her.
— You know you turn me on.
I told you not to do it, but you’re so damn sexy.
I tried to stay away. Everyone says you’re too young for me. I’m treating you badly. But I just can’t stay away.
It feels like I haven’t seen you for ages. After the last fight we had – I should have called. I thought it was for the best.
Come here. I can’t resist you. You’re turning me on.
He kisses her. His hands are like spiders, moving everywhere she doesn’t want. She tries, briefly, to pull away. He holds her hands behind her back, at the wrists. His eyes are very close to hers, his lips almost touching her mouth. They stare at each other.
I’m evil. You shouldn’t let me touch you.
She shakes her head, mesmerised.
I mustn’t kiss you. What are you doing to me?
But he does.
What have you done?
You want this, don’t you?
— But I don’t, I – Please, stop. Please.
— But you started it. You knew what you were doing.
They sink down into the rubble, like rats.