Last of the BAC Futures – Saturday night and Sunday morning

I will walk through that door and I will walk into that room.  Some of you will wonder what I am doing behind that door and some of you will not wonder at all.  You will walk down those steps and you will all walk out of that door and then out of another door into a lobby that looks like it has been decorated for a picnic.  One of you will not want to go home and will offer to buy your friend a drink.  Your will be glad when your friend will say they’d love one, and you will walk down the stairs, briefly noticing the signs that say “Start a Revolution.” You will queue at the makeshift bar that is new since the last time you were here. You will stand behind a man with dreadlocks and glasses and you will think that this man is pulling off his dreadlocks.  You will look up and you will see me, standing at the top of the stairs next to the ladies’ washroom.  You will wonder how I got there so quickly.  We will make eye contact and I will smile and nod at you, like I did to the others before, and then I will walk into the washroom.  Your friend will come up behind you and say “Boo.”  You will jump a little. 

I will be standing in the washroom and I will be pulling my hands in and out of the Dyson hand dryer although my hands will not be wet.  I will look in the mirror and I will notice some blue make up smudged on my forehead that I will worry that this happened during the performance.   I will walk out of the washroom and I will stand at the top of the stairs.  I will look at the “Start a Revolution” signs that I will have described every  night.  I will think, wouldn’t it be crazy if I jumped?  Wouldn’t it just totally recontextualise this show, but obviously I will not jump.  As I will be holding onto the rail and looking at the signs I will hear someone say “Excuse me, Excuse me” from underneath where I am standing, and I will see one of you, sitting at the same carpetted booth beneath the railing.  You will be sitting at the same booth from last night and the night before.  You will say, “I’ve been here every night.”  And I will say “I know.”  You will say, “On Thursday and Friday night you stood on the landing, why didn’t you stand on the landing tonight?” and I will say, “I was trying to shake it up a bit.”  And then you will say “I’ve got a surprise for you.”  And you will reach under the table and I will see that you are getting something from your bag.  I will remember last night when you let a pigeon go and it flew into the lobby.  I will remember a few months ago when you showed me a bat in your coat pocket. I will remember the time you showed me a dead pheasant at Sticky Mike’s in Brighton.   You will reach into your bag and you will motion for me to reach down to the booth, and then you will hand me flowers wrapped in thin blue paper.  And you will say, “I bet you didn’t predict that.”  As you always do.  And then we will both remember the moment where I did predict that, as we always do, and we will stare at eachother.  I will look at the flowers and a moth will fly out of them, into my face briefly, and then into the light.  And then you will say, “but I bet you didn’t predict That.”  And then we will remember that I also predicted that.  I will smile at you and I will walk quickly back into the washroom, careful to not step on any of the lines on the floor, telling myself it will all be alright in a way that will come so naturally to me that it will be as though I am not telling myself anything at all.  I will look in the mirror and the blue make up will be gone and I will wonder if the moth took it with him.  I will wash my face and then I will dry my hands using the Dyson hand dryer, this time because I really need to.  I will stick my  hands in and out.  I will consider whether or not to pick up the flowers, but I will, and I will walk down the steps, careful not to step on the first step or the last step, and I will not look to see if you are still at the booth.  I will not look at the Start a Revolution signs.  I will be running so nimbly down the stairs that I will worry I will trip and break my back, and then I will see my husband and my friend smiling at me and having a drink at the wooden bench next to the door.  I will put the flowers on the table.  My husband will say, “So that’s them.” And I will say yes.  And then I will ask him what he thought and he will say that he liked it, but he never likes the bits where I mention him.  He will ask me if I’d like a drink and I will say that I would.  He will get up, and then my friend will smile at me and say, “So is it all happening exactly as you’d said it would?”  And I will say, “So far, yes.” 

I will only want to talk about the show and I will not want to talk about the show.  I will be afraid to ask her what she thought and so I will compliment her on her shirt even though I will be relatively indifferent to her shirt.  She will tell me that she saw a film last night and that it was very long.  I will say that I know most of the lyrics the songs in that film and that I have actually mentioned that film in every single one of these performances so far and then she will laugh.  My husband will come back with a gin and tonic which I will drink and slowly, and quietly, this performance will almost disappear.  We will each have three drinks and our thoughts will become lopsided ideas that we will use as planks of wood to build a conversation shaped fort that shakes.  I will ask what time the East London line stops running and we will all check tfl on our mobile phones but none of us will be able to find out.  We will decide that it must be finishing soon and I will wonder out loud how much a taxi would cost.  I will say that in previous shows I actually predicted I would take a taxi on Saturday night, and then we will all wonder if having another drink is worth £30 or more just to get back to East London. I will ask them if they help me carry the things in the room I’ve been staying in to the train station.  We will get up, and then I will see one of you who will be drinking a beer and having a conversation near the café entrance.  You will smile at me and point at the table, and I will see that I have left my flowers.  I will wonder whether or not to pick them up.  I will hold them in one arm while I punch the code to get into the artist hallway.  I will walk down the white hallway with names painted in red and a floral carpet that is always skewed to one side, and my friend will say, “This is cool.” And then we will walk up to the welcome mat in front of the room where I have been staying and I will punch in the code of th room saying, “This is the Where the Wild Things Are room.  It was designed by two artists I know while they were expecting their baby.”  We will enter the room and I will turn on the overhead light which will not be the best light to show off the room, but we will also be in a hurry to get out.  They will see a bed suspended about four feet from the ground from cables, in a canopy that looks like a tree. I will turn on the fairy lights that light up the den underneath the bed.  My husband will have seen the bed already, but my friend will want to see the room in proper lighting and so we will turn off the overhead light, unbolt the swinging bed, and swing it back and forth.  I will be able to tell that she would like to lie in the bed.  I will be worried that we may be running out of time before the East London line closes.  I will realise that she may never have another chance to lie in this bed.  I will say, “Would you like to try lying the bed?” and she will say an emphatic, “Yes!” and then she will take off her shoes, and she will climb in and the bed will make the very loud noise that it always makes when you push it too far over to one side, and it will shake.  She will lie down and say, “Is this safe?” And I will say, “I don’t know but I slept here last night.”  She will close her eyes for a moment and sway.  My husband will want to sit in the den beneath the bed and so I will sit in it with him for a moment. I will hear the bed swaying and I will worry that our friend will fall on us.  I will push the painted white door, and I will crawl out and my friend will have her eyes closed while the bed gently sways. I will turn on the overhead light and say, “Okay, kids, time to go.”  I will push back a blue curtain, reach into the cupboard that used to be used to store cables before this was a bedroom, and hand my husband a bag with sound equipment in it, which I didn’t end up using.  My friend will climb off the ladder.  The bed will make the loud sound and shake, and I will hand her my camera, which I also didn’t end up using.  My husband will say, “Now have you got everything?” I will go to the corner and I will push my clothing into another canvas bag, along with my toothbrush, eye cream, deodorant, and I will walk to the door and I will give the bed one last rock with my hand.  I will say yes, and we will leave the flowers in the room. 

We will use the artist exit.  While we turn the corner I will look at the sign that reads “Great Hall.”   We will walk quickly down the hill, past the Foxton’s, past the Syrian café where I like to practice terrible arabic so they remember me and where this morning I sat and wrote what I’m reading to you now while drinking a cup of coffee and eating an unneccessarily large breakfast.  We will walk past the party shop that was once on fire and past the pub where I once had a drink with my friend who now has a child or maybe even children, I’m not sure, it’s been a while since we’ve seen each other.  We will turn into what looks like a shopping centre, and we will all walk to the ticket booths to top up our oyster cards.  My friend will look up at the board to see which platform it is and I will say, “It’s always 2” even though I’ve not taken this train that many times.  We will walk quickly down the long hallway naming platforms, trying not to bump into anyone.  I will begin to run, and then they will begin to run.  We will run up the platform and we will see the train waiting. We will start walking to the train when we will hear beeping of train doors about to close. I will run and they will run.  We will just make it into the train.  I will have the feeling I have when I just catch a train.  I will not feel lucky or happy, I will feel amazed by how close we came to not catching it.  I will try not to remember the time I ran for a train in Barcelona when I was nineteen and my purse got trapped in the door.  I will try not to remember that the door opened and then I tried to get in and my leg got trapped in the door.  And I will try not remember how the train then started moving and how I started screaming, and how someone heard me just in time and stopped the train and I was able to take my leg out.  I will try not to remember but I will quickly rub my leg.   

There will not be three seats together on tonight’s train and so we will sit separately for the first three stops.  I will put my headphones in and I will listen to music.  Before Queensbridge, the train will suddenly stop.  There will be no announcement.  Fifteen minutes later we will still be stopped and  I will worry that this is somewhow my fault.  Five minutes later my friend will look at me from two seats away and will say “This is your fault.”  The train will begin to move.  People will leave and we will all sit together on the same side of the train.  We will hear the announcement for Shoreditch High Street and we will hug our friend goodbye and I will give her a kiss on the cheek even though this will a tricky manoeuvre before the door closes.  We will touch out with our oyster cards and then I will remember that my friend still has my camera. I will think how we were drinking and I will hope that she doesn’t forget it on the train because it’s  not hers.  I will wonder if I’m being ridiculous but I will not be sure how ridiculous I’m being and I will wonder whether or not I should call her and remind her.  I will say, “Hang on, stop.”  We will stop on a dark street in east London and I will take out my iphone.  I will send a text, hoping she gets it in time.    

My husband and I will walk across the street at the stop sign, past the restaurant on the corner with a  stuffed tiger in the window, past the bar I was once told Madonna frequents and that I have never been to, past the coffee shop I said I would never go to when it first opened and that I now go to all the time.  We will turn the corner at the community centre and I will look up to the apartment across the street that I am sure is owned by a millionaire.  The light will be on in the window.  I will see they have files, leaning against the glass.  My husband will touch the fob to the door.  He will move out of the way while I try to run up the first flight of stairs before the main door to the building slams shut.  He will ask if I made it.  I will say nothing.  I will think – this thing I do every time I come home with the stairs is just a game, but I will be happy I made it up there in time again.  We will walk up more stairs to our door and I will notice that next to the bag of recycling there are still a very nice pair of leather shoes with no laces that are definitely too small for me.  I will wonder if these belong to my flatmate and why she is leaving them there.  We will get in the door and I will smell the mysterious and somewhat unpleasant smell that settled near the door in our usually clean apartment about four days ago.  I will make a mental note to find out tomorrow where that smell comes from, but I will not really want to know.  I will take off my shoes and my husband will take off his shoes and we will put them in the shoe rack that that I am proud to have built, albeit with material and instructions from Argos.  I will walk to the kitchen and I will get myself a glass of water.  I will see one of my flatmates.  She will ask about my night and I will say that I was performing the show and then she will say that she never got the email, and I will say I though I sent it, and she will say she’s very sorry she missed it.  I will say no problem.  She will ask how it went and I will say it’s hard to tell with these things.  I will walk to our bedroom, I will put my bag down on the couch, I will not be able to believe that for now the show is over, and I will take out my toothbrush, and go to brush my teeth. 

In the mirror I will notice this wrinkle. I will remember how my friend’s mother had warned me that I would get a wrinkle there if I didn’t stop furrowing my brow and I will remember that I was seven years old then.

I will walk down the hallway into our bedroom where my husband will be in bed reading a book.  I will take off my clothes, put on my night dress, climb into bed, and I will put my head on his shoulder and he will kiss the top of my head.  Then I will turn around in bed and I will say a prayer, quietly in my head so that he can’t hear, I will say “God bless all my friends and relations thanks be to God” and I will cross myself, even though I’m not religious or anything like that.  I will fall asleep while he will be reading a paragraph about people who have been walking through the desert with all of their things on their backs and on the backs of their exhausted horses.  The people will see what looks like water.  

I will hear a sound that is not quite a ring and not quite a melody.  My husband will fumble to find the sound.  The sound will stop. 

I will hear a sound that is not quite a ring and not quite a melody.  I will hear fumbling, I will see him holding a little screen with the time on it.  The sound will stop. 

I will hear a sound that is not quite a ring and not quite a melody. I will look at the screen and it will be ten minutes later. I will say, “Stop hitting snooze and just turn it off.  We’ll wake up soon.” 

I will open my eyes.  The bed will be warm, the blue curtains will be drawn, and the blue dark and the warm will seem somehow related.  I will be able to see the window lined with potted plants  in the building across the street.  I will wonder if Jimmy is in the window next door.  The window that I can’t see.  Jimmy is a cat that my husband and I have named after Jimmy Stewart because he sits in the window, behind a grey curtain, and stares at pigeons.  I will start to think about last night’s show (and to clarify, by that I mean the show I’m doing right now).  And then I will think about Friday’s show, and Thursday’s show. I will think about these scripts I will never use again.   I will think about my next show, in March.  I will realise that I will have to rewrite the bits about Vancouver and Japan because those things will have probably already happened by then.   I will think this is a stupid idea for a show. I will think about how I once showed promise as a writer, and I will wonder if this project is my attempt to kill that promise once and all, to really burn myself out on something that never ends and that nobody will read that the audience may even at times find a little boring. I will worry about Saturday’s show – I will remember how I had to delete the part I did on Thursday and Friday about rewriting the show for the next day’s performance, because Saturday will have been my last performance for a while.  I will think that was favourite part, and I will worry that missing out on that bit meant that the audience did not appreciate how much rewriting I do for this show.  I will worry about googling myself later.  I will worry about doing the show in April in Texas because I will think, I don’t know Texas that well, and I have to produce at the same time, and I have to do it more than once.  I will not know how I will ever do this.  And then I will think, cross that bridge when you come to it.  In March.  In April.  There will be new things to write about.  I will begin thinking about everything else I have to do and  catch up on.  I will think about everything that isn’t this show.  I will feel busy and free and empty. 

Saturday January 12th’s performance at BAC – The last of three consecutive BAC future shows


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