Monday, 11 September 2017 16:03

The Same River Twice

Sitting room of 3rd floor apartment overlooking the city. Jo is sitting at her desk, working on her laptop and EM is standing by the window, staring out into the night.
Em, what are you doing? You’ve been standing there not saying anything for the past 20 minutes?
Do you not hear them? The helicopters? Jesus I hate that sound, phut phut phut, big ugly flying yokes, like some harbingers of doom.
JO: (trying to laugh)
They always remind me of the opening scenes of MASH. Em, it’s probably the medical one going to the hospital.
EM: (looking at her)
No, no they’re Search& Rescue alright, I can see the lights strobing across the water. There’s at least 2 of them.
Come away from the window Em, you don’t know that it’s… know….again.
EM: (teary eyed is drawing pictures of drowning people on the steamed-up window)
I do know Jo and so do you. Sure, what else could it be?
C’mon Em, you know those fucking drawings will show up every time the windows are steamy. We’ll never get rid of them. Look, I’ll go on FB and see if anyone has posted anything about a search.
EM: (still absentmindedly doodling on the window, drawing figures with speech bubbles calling for help)
“Good idea”
JO: looking at her laptop
Nothing here….maybe….
JO’s mobile rings and she answers
Hi Izzy, Yea we see them, do you know anything? No neither do we.
Jo leaves the room
She’s not great, to be honest, won’t come away for the window. She’s kind of gone into a daze. I know. Sure it’s barely a year since Sean and she hasn’t remoely come to terms with that. Do you know Iz there are times when I get so furious with him, even though I know I shouldn’t. I wouldn’t say this to anyone else, but he fucking knew it’d be her that would come home and find him. Shit I’m getting freaked out myself now and I need to stay calm. Listen will you phone around and call me back if there’s any news. Thanks love.
Jo goes back into the room. Em is still at the window.
I wonder how long they’ll stay searching
Izzy’s going to phone around and let us know if there’s any news.
It feels like when little Ali went into the river, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it Jo.
JO: (quietly)
Yes! It feels exactly like when little Ali killed herself.
EM: (crying quietly)
First little Ali, then Sean. I don’t think I can take another one. It’s a horrible thing to say but I hope whoever they’re searching for isn’t another one of ours.
Well at least we all always have each other, no matter how much we bitch. I remember Ali’s family and the Guards couldn’t believe how so many of us went searching the coast every day for the whole 3 weeks she was missing and when Moira found her, how we were like a tower of gay strength holding each other. I’ll never forget it, in the midst of the horror how proud of our little community I felt.
Poor little Ali, sure we never knew….
They look at Jo’s ringing phone
Hi Iz, well? Rachel and Steve? What did the text say?
Bursts into tears, shaking her head at EM
Sophie, it’s Sophie
But it can’t be her. There’s a mistake. Weren’t we only out with her last night. It was last night, wasn’t it? She was in grand form, a bit pissed but that’s only to be expected what with that bitch Sara cheating on her, but she was singing and everything. I don’t believe it’s her.
Yea, do you remember what she was singing though?
I do but it’s her favourite song J, she always sings it. That doesn’t mean anything.
Yea but think of the words Em,
JO sings through tears
“Looking back on the memory of
the dance we shared beneath the stars above    
For a moment, all the world was right
How could I have known you’d ever say goodbye”
JO breaks down and Em recites the remainder of the lyrics
“And now I’m glad that I didn’t know
the way it all would end, the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance
 I could have missed the pain
But I’d have had to miss the dance”
Fucking Garth Fucking Brooks. How could she J? How could she do this?
Was Izzy absolutely sure it was her? Maybe there’s a mistake. Should we try phoning her?
It’s her love. She sent texts to Rachel and Steve saying she loved them and she was sorry and by the time they’d called the Guards and run down to the bridge, she was gone. A pile of cigarette butts, empty whiskey bottle and her cross and chain left on a ledge.
Come on Em, get your coat, everyone is meeting in the pub. We have to start organising the search.

                                                                They finally hold each other in desperate silence before they leave.

Published in Aug-Oct-2017