I’ve Cooked Breakfast

This was an old monologue I wrote at university for one of my 
assignments. I've edited it and updated it a bit.

I’ve Cooked Breakfast

[Walks in from the ‘kitchen’ with a tray of breakfast things. Puts the tray down on table.]

Mum! Breakfast’s ready.

[Goes to call through the other curtains, ‘upstairs’]

Are you coming or what? I’ve made you eggs…

[coming back. She sorts out breakfast things]

Soft-boiled eggs. Just how you like them.

I’ll change the landing lightbulb Mum, I said, don’t worry about it, I’ll do it after college. I said that yesterday morning. And I completely forgot. I went to see the girls. Mum offered to drive me there and well, I forgot, again.

She’ll want to just do it herself anyway. The lightbulb. And she’ll come down for her breakfast just whenever she wants. It’s the weekend and the first thing she does when she gets out of bed. She wants to change the landing lightbulb. And it’s not even 10 O’clock. And I’ve cooked eggs. Just how she likes them. That’s stubborn for you.

[Sits down and has breakfast. Eating.]

I’m not really that good in the kitchen but I’ve started to help out a bit more, around the house, just to take her mind off things a bit. Not that it’s really helping. As you can tell. [Points to the upstairs landing]

It’s because its worse in the mornings. She wakes up with the tremor in her hand. Her left one. It started in her pinky and she thought nothing of it. Who would? Just a muscle spasm or something.

So now I cook breakfast and I’m getting better at eggs at least. I know I should have already known, but Mum has always been the one who loves cooking. Her passion. She loved cooking for people.

I came down to breakfast one morning, must have been about five or six weeks ago now, and she was sat here crying. And that’s not like her. There was this smashed bottle of milk on the floor. Literally everywhere.  I had to try so hard to resist… you know not to say… don’t cry over spilt milk. I know she’d find the funny side to it. Or she used to. I just stood there for a few moments, taking it all in, looking at her. And feeling this, weird, sort of, tenderness between us, sort of like I knew she wanted to laugh but she was crying. And I wanted to laugh but thought maybe I should be crying too, for her I think, but maybe for me, I don’t know.

The tremor could be in her shoulder or up to her neck by lunchtime. Always the left side.

I wouldn’t say I’ve ever seen her totally relaxed. It’s a Saturday for God’s sake and she is standing on a crappy step ladder, replacing a dodgy lightbulb on the landing at [looks at watch] 9:46. That woman does not know how to relax. She’ll be doing it to prove a point. Like thats really going to help.

I should fix that stupid lightbulb, but she so desperately wants to do it, it’s like I’m damned if I do it, I’m damned if I don’t. She’ll only find some other job she’s going to do, that I should really be doing. There’s always something I should be doing to make her feel better, to take her mind off it, to ease the pain. But doing it only makes her feel worse. And sometimes all I want to do is go back to bed.

It’s never normally too long before we find something to laugh about though. Like lately, its our shared annoyance of my Aunties – Mum’s younger sisters. They’re always saying she’d be wise to pack in the company all together, about time she spent more time with the family. And yet I haven’t seen them since last Christmas. But of course, now they’ve found out about the tremor, how serious it might be and they’re blocking up the phone lines every Saturday evening.

Thank God Mum and Dad stopped at me, I couldn’t deal with three sisters telling me what to do. Mum tries to be all polite but I know she’s sick of it. Already. And its only early days. They’re all suddenly advisors, therapists, saints. Telling her to go private. Telling her to eat this and that. Quit her job. Relax. Well we could all tell her that. But she’ll do what she wants to do. I guess we all do in this house.

We run a tight ship and we manage fine, that’s the way its always been. Dad’s at work, Mum’s at work. I’ve got things to do, people to see. I’ve got the girls, anyway. I don’t see them as much, Mum tells me to just go see them, but I can’t. So I guess I’ve taken a bit of a back bench. Which sucks when you’re seventeen. Everything sucks when you’re seventeen.

[Calls upstairs again]

Mum! […a muffled reply calls from Mum]

Yeah! and you said that last time!

I don’t mind helping round the house a bit more, but, I think this is it from here on in. Desperately dragging Mum down for her breakfast. I’m now seventeen going on forty.  She will come down when she wants to. Just like I used to. I’m the adult, she’s the moody teenager.

I don’t what how long it’ll take… what else I’ll start doing… which is OK, I’m not lazy. It’s just she’s as stubborn about doing things as I was about not doing them.

It’s a rare condition of it: young onset Parkinsons. She’s only 48, and barely a grey hair on her head. Fit, healthy, happy. Just stressed, I guess. And stubborn. Really stubborn. But often the way isn’t it? Healthy’s got nothing to do with it. It could be genetic, I’m not really sure.

The neighbours brought round flowers when they found out. Mum had been over for a coffee on Monday, it must have come up in conversation, and the next day – here, tulips. They’re a lovely couple and all that.

Is this the start of it, Mum said when she got home from work and saw them. Shall I buy more vases? Clear all the window sills. We laughed about it at the time. But every morning I’ve cooked her breakfast this week, I look at those tulips and as lovely as they are – the flowers and the neighbours – I can’t help but think the same thing.

Is this the start of it? Life never the same again. Losing my mum. Watching her become someone else. This thing, this disease, is like the brother or sister I never had – or wanted – it’s getting all Mum’s attention and leaving me with the bits leftover. I know that’s ridiculous – I’m being a jealous little girl.

We’re both avoiding becoming who we’re becoming. Stay like we are. It’s not even as simple as just wanting your Mum to get better. It’s not like that. It’s like…already moved in, already part of her now. So you learn to accommodate it, tolerate it. Like that little brother or sister you never want but they must be embraced into the family. They are family. It’s not your choice and its not all about you. You must learn to get used to it. We’re good at that in our house anyway. We manage, we skirt the subject, we laugh, and we get on with it. We carry on. We change the lightbulbs and we no longer get glass milk bottles.

[Cleaning breakfast things up] 

And I learn to cook eggs again and again.

 

 

Kelly Punton ©

Sausage and Mash (100 Word Play)

Elderly couple, shopping.

George: You keep onions in the fridge?

Isobel:  Yes

George: We keep-kept them in a rack

Isobel: What about potatoes?

George: In the rack too-

Isobel: No, what potatoes would you like? These are good for roasting.

George: I don’t like roast potatoes, but get them ones if that’s what—

Isobel: Well… it’s what Peter liked but… we don’t have to roast…

George: Maggie loved potatoes in stew.

(They look at each other and smile)

Isobel: And how would you like yours?

George: Well actually, I’ve never actually…really… tried roast potatoes-

Isobel: Never tried roa-! (Moment)

George: Why don’t we do something different?

Isobel: Sausage and mash?

(They smile.)

Alone in Columbia

pexels-photo

“Keep talking to me guys,”

I say it on the radio,

as you drift away,

This is it now.

 

All eyes watch you make history,

and I’m sitting here inside,

sweating like a nervous bride.

Right about now.

 

The world will be marvelling at you,

but they do not know,

history has not yet been made,

God, it’s still playing out now.

 

It’s 50-50, you say,

I’m waiting here in Columbia,

waiting to hear from Eagle.

Absolutely nothing I can do now.

 

One day without you, hidden behind the moon,

Out of sight and out of mind, hidden by 250,000 miles,

and if you could say it you would have,

You would have said it now.

 

The speech is written, it’s ready to be given.

This is my secret terror,

that I’ll be alone now.

and you’ll have been lost forever.

 

“Fate has ordained

that the men who went to the moon 

to explore in peace 

will stay on the moon 

to rest in peace.”

 

Me a marked man returning home,

this is just one day to kill,

but in my head, time drags on and only fear will fill,

these moments of dread now.

 

Since you left me,

you have made me the single most distant,

Solo Traveller,

patiently stranded in orbit now.

 

I’m waiting here, alone in Columbia,

I am truly alone now.

Three days we spent gazing out,

on the earth getting smaller and smaller

Something to write home about.

 

But we’re still not convinced,

this dream is meant to come true.

If they fail to rise from the surface

or crash back into it?

 

Whatever should happen,

I am a changed man.

I know it, this is aloneness,

unknown to man before now.

 

No radio transmission from mission control,

the bulk of the moon has blocked them all.

While the world watches on at what you do,

You’re the only thing on my mind now.

 

I’m thinking of both of you

Your mothership waits behind

You can take your steps

I will watch on now.

 

Our giant leaps may soon demise,

the mothership’s only son,

the eagle, attempts to fly

Did apollo 11 forget me?

 

Did destiny only write half my story

all born in 1930,

each one of us born at the right time,

the very first lunar landing now.

 

And we returned home,

from way out there.

To return home with you

was the greatest of honours now.

 

Whether they even remember me or not,

Alone in Columbia.

Out there I’m never forgot,

And put lucky on my tombstone — we made it back.

 

 

Birds (Unfinished)

Birds 

garden-girl-person-3784-828x550Birds tweet. 

Set in a ‘peaceful garden’ with lighting but we do not know what time of day it is. It could be twilight or just a strange, warm and sunny day; it is a sort of articifial sunlight, very orange. The grass is very green, almost blue under the artificial light. The sunflowers are red.

A young woman is already lying on the floor, downstage centre. We don’t know why she is lying on the floor, or what occassion she is wearing. She wears a long red coat and a yellowy scarf.

Silence. Birds then continue to tweet

I know what I know.
I know what I know.
The sky is blue.
The grass is green.
The coat is red.
My coat is red.
The dog says ‘bark’.
I like dogs.
I feel,
I feel.

My list of favourite things is coming along nicely. It almost makes me sound good. Cool, good. Even bohemian, cool, good.

I don’t know what that really means.
What else shall I write down?
Nothing like fresh sheets, the smell of baking bread, eoooughhh.
No. That will make me sound like a middle class housewife.
Typewriters. I like typewriters, and … record players.
That’s cool, that’s vintage.
I actually have an old typwriter. It was my Grannie’s typewriter. But after she died, I was allowed to have it.
I don’t actually type on it. The ribbons snapped. And I’d have no fingers left if I tried to type on that. It’s so stiff and cold.
It’s cool and vintage.
My brother has a record player. He got it for Christmas last year, and then had to transport it back on the train to London after.
He’s probably cooler than me.
Not just because of the record player. Or that he lives in London. But most people would think that’s cool.
I don’t have a record player.
I don’t want one either. They’re expensive. And I’d have to buy all the big old vinyls.
No one sits around just listening to music anymore. I don’t appreciate music enough to have a record player.

That’s what record players were about. I like to think so anyway.

I’ve got some cool things. Maybe one day I’ll have a cool house too.
A kitchen with big, black wooden cupboards. And I could write on them in chalk, like the shopping list or my favourite cocktails.
Once I get used to the taste of all those nasty cocktails I’m not cool enough to drink.
I’d have a gigantic collection of colourful thermos flasks. For lots of coffee.
Once I get used to the taste. The smell, yes, that I like, but not the taste. Eurgh. But that make me uncool too because then I feel like a fraud when I just say ‘do you want to grab a coffee?’

And a living room with more colour than advisable. Yellow walls, a blue sofa and a red rug. I’ll make some friends who create their own art and frame them big and small on the walls.
Once I get used to the taste. Or once I’m cool enough to go to galleries and understand it and that.
Maybe I’ll even get a rocking chair.

Does anybody like any of these things?
What is vintage?
What is cool, again?
And, What stereotype sorry?
What anonymous whole is it that I am a part of?

I know what I like
But don’t ask me what.

It’ll sound stupid. All of this is really.

Danger.
Waste.

The possibilities.
The future.

I don’t want to choose my corner yet, do I have to? I don’t want to.

I don’t want to like anything, not yet. I know what I like, but I don’t know how to tell you.

I don’t want to own things. Not if that’s what its like.

I’ll keep the typewriter. That was my Grannie’s. But I don’t want to own anything. Maybe when I find a place where me and things go together. I don’t know where that is, or when it is.
But I know what I’d like.

I’m alone. A big room. Or a small room. Somewhere between the size of the world and the size of the womb.

It’s there when I’m most myself.
Where I know what I know.
This is me, I’m happy here.
No lists, no desciptions.
I’m not a loner, but I like to be alone.

“Are you happy?
I’m alright
Are you selfish?
I like to think I’m…”

Look, a bird.
I’ll fly away.
Do you think I could?

I couldn’t really tell you what for.
I couldn’t really say why.
I couldn’t really tell you what the difference would be.

Do you think I could?
What good would it be?
I’d probably get bored.
Fleeting joys.
Can’t be helped, just one of those things.

“It’s better to look at the sky than live there. Such an empty place; so vague … and things disappear”

I know what I know.
The sky is blue.
The grass is green.
The coat is red.
My coat is red.
The dog says ‘bark’.
My dog ‘barks’.
I love my dog.

That I know

That I feel,
I feel,
I feel
Are you listening?

Do you want to?

“Cross your heart and kiss your elbow.”

What are you asking,
of me?
or the other?
What did you want…

to know.

I can’t tell you right now.

Kelly Punton ©

Baby Face

Baby Face

black-and-white-chess-chessman-2902-824x550

It’ll be fun. You think so don’t you… Read that bit again baby face. Read it for me. It’ll make you feel better… I know you’re probably in pieces right now.

But come on, you don’t think we’ve done enough thinking through already, to make this thing work, to do this whole thing. We’ve pulled it off Nate! You and me, we did it! And it was more than cheating card games with them boy brigades or stealing Uncle’s Eliezer’s whiskey!

Boy, it’s all been fun hasn’t it baby face? But this, now, this is what’s it’s all really been about hey. We’ve set our hearts on bigger things now. Just like we used to say we would. Baby face, you know what this means to you and to me. Read that bit again… go on, why don’t you? … That bit about the übermensch. And perk up a bit, you’ll have us both in pieces.

Nate, I do know what you’re thinking. How you’re feeling. But trust me please.

Trust me, with that intellect of yours … All of that and all my charm. It’s the perfect match baby face. You know it is. A damn load of genius and an appalling amount of social graces gets you anything. Just look at our Mops and Pops. Of course, their Jewish roots might have helped too.

Besides it’s just an investigation baby face. That’s nothing. We thought it all through. Oh, you know you’re freaking like some wretched worm! Get yourself back to here, will you?! Nate! Just listen. Let me calm your nerves.

Jesus, Nate! How poetic do you want me to make it sound? How should I say it to you? …

“Two star crossed lovers take their life whose misadventerous piteous overthrows doth with their death bury their parents strife.”

We don’t believe in the stars. This is rebellion baby face. It’s the future… for people like us. This is how it needs to happen. We’re not goverened by stars or anything of the kind. You know what this is all about.

Superman, Overman, Ape, Worm, Rope, Abyss.

Nobody likes playing by the rules baby face. But let’s not give the game away.

We’re invincible. You know that don’t you? Now let’s just keep still.

A friend should be a master of what? …Guessing and keeping still. You’re right, that’s right. You’re still in pieces aren’t you?

Look at me. Read that bit again. Will that help?

Superman, Overman, Ape, Worm, Rope, Abyss.

You do want to be like me don’t you? That’s what you’ve always said. Brave. Charming. Handsome. This is it! You can be, you are now. You never expressed all these so many emotions before baby face. And you know there’s no backing out now. We’re in this together. Just us two, like it’s always been, ever since first class. C’mon, let us see a smile. That’s more like it. This is rebellion, it’s going to hurt to give birth to it. Maybe just a bit more than we thought. Now c’mon baby face … read that bit again …

Superman, Overman, Ape, Worm, Rope, Abyss.

Kelly Punton ©