A revised version of a previous entry

Thank you Birgith Rosipuu on Unsplash

38 year old woman in a middle-class flat. A weaving and Picasso reproductions on the wall. Sitting room, but there must be some sort of door. On the floor there is what looks like a pile of unwanted mail.There is a half-empty bottle of wine and a glass, and a cigarette ashtray with a forgotten cigarette smouldering in it. Woman is in front of ironing board,contemplating shirts and things, a cigarette in her mouth. She walks towards the table where she notices the smouldering cigarette, shakes her head, and stubs both fags out; she realises that she only wanted to stub one of them out, but laughs and shrugs. She pours some more wine, drinks a little sip, then swallows the rest in one go. She refills and walks to her ironing. She irons aggressively, looking at a clock on the wall and the telephone on the mantelpiece, willing it to ring.

Look at me, I am a wreck! You could at least phone, you little prat! It’s not too much to ask … one effing phone call on Mother’s Day! No..ooo, can’t be bothered, can we? Don’t need Belgian chocolates… or bubbly. Or flowers! Dream on, woman! Not even a lousy card! Hang on, mebbe I didn’t check properly, sorry love.

She picks up the bills and spams, studies them comically, but the audience knows the score, She throws them back in disgust.

He has no excuses, not even a blind man could have missed those ads- they were all over the place! Supermarkets, bus shelters, television, florists, you name it! Ferrero Rocher for mum on Sunday … Bailey … Ooo Smart move … a Smart phone for mum… Makes you want to puke! How could the little swine have missed them? Everybody else remembers their mothers on Mother’s day, but no .. ooo, not him! Yea, he’s got all the sensibilities of his father, he has. Come on, why don’t you ring? I know, you must have been busy with all those essays and projects you should have handed in last week … Oh, I know, you meant to get your mum a little card or something, but what with one thing and another you never got round. Yea, I know, I understand. But at least you’re gonna ring, I know you, you’re full of good intentions, it’s just that you inherited my organisational skills! Och get real woman, he’s out drinking with his mates. Mates are more important than mums!

She walks towards the bottle and pours herself some more wine, and comes back to the ironing board, smiles.

Oh I am awful! Drinking like this … he’s bound to phone, and then I won’t be able to talk to him (laughs immoderately). You love your silly old mum, don’t you, my love? Yes, I know you do. You’re a OK kid really. You’re mummy’s only love! Nobody cares if I live or die.

She does her ironing more calmly for a bit, still casting oblique glances at the phone. An indeterminate noise is heard, it could be a cat next door, a dog scratching somewhere, water dripping, or even somebody at the door. She stops and listens, and the noise goes away.

Not fun living all alone in this place. Bloody neighbours, students upstairs, partying and slamming doors at all hours of the night. And your dad’s pissed off with that secretary! Secretary my foot! Couldn’t even spell supercallifragilistisex … oh, you could spell the sex bit alright, I bet, bitch! You’re welcome to him! What does she have that I don’t? (Apostrophises the ceiling) What has she got that I don’t? No, don’t answer that.

The noise comes back. This time the woman reacts with fear. The noise subsides.

They said the flat was haunted, I never believed in ghosts, but who knows, these noises are becoming more and more frequent these days.

A loud ring is heard. Woman rushes to the telephone.

I knew it, I knew you would darling. Aren’t I awful? Condemning you from the word go…

She picks up the phone, and realises it was not the phone but the doorbell. The ring is heard again. Reluctantly she walks towards the door.

Who the devil is that? At this time. (Brightens up suddenly) It’s him! Isn’t that the sweetest thing! Coming darling.

She carefully puts the security chain in and opens the door. We do not see or hear the caller. He says something which we do not hear. Sorry, what was that? Too right it’s late, and yes, I do mind. I was on the phone, talking to my son, if you must know. She bangs the door shut and walks back in.

Jehovah bloody witnesses! No respect for anybody’s privacy!

She pours some more to drink. She picks up a photograph of her son as a baby.

You was so gorgeous! No two ways of describing you, sweetie! Such clear innocent eyes. So cuddly. You used to love your mummy so much! Mummy, you said, teacher said god is boundee-ful, what is boundee-ful? Is it the same as beautiful? No darling, bountiful means generous, giving, caring. Mummy, you said, god cannot be more boun dee-ful than you! (To audience) they grow up too quickly, don’t they? One day a toddler, next day a computer whiz kid! … the nursery with cuddly toys and leggo pieces, crayons and kidy books turning into a … cursery with computer books and tapes, joysticks and kaboom, wheeeng. In no time at all, Ba.. ba.. baa gives way to talks of machine code and subroutines. Then they say O mum, you’re so stupid…you know nothing, and you laugh and you forgive them, and then they bugger off to some place miles from home…they use their damn computers to discover which university is as far from home and they put that in as their first choice…

The phone rings. Woman looks at it in triumph. Adjusts her dress. Takes a deep breath and walks towards the phone with great composure. Sighs with relief, sure this time that it’s the son.

Hello! I knew it was youuuuu…. (Downcast) …I was about to call, honest Mum. (Indistinct words) … what do you mean, mum, I said I was just about to phone…no of course I hadn’t forgotten it was your day! I’d never do that! I said I was just about to phone you…honest, mum, cross my heart and hope to die.

Prizewinning playwright. Mathematician. Teacher. Professional Siesta addict.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store