We can take as much time as you need. Really, there is no hurry, we have a good ten minutes left.
You look better today, you have a little colour in your cheeks.
How are things at work?
I don't want to talk about work. I hate that job, do you hear me? Hate it! Why don't you ask me about my mother? You're supposed to ask me about my mother.
Do you want to talk about your mother -
I didn't think so. You know we might not get another opportunity to chat for some time. I know what it cost for you to come here today, I understand and I want to help.
Very reassuring, you seem to have got the hang of this. How about me asking you a few questions? Come on, don't be shy, we still have a good...oh, seven minutes at least before it's time for me to leave. Why don't you tell me about your notes?
There just notes to help me remember our conversations, nothing more.
That's not entirely true is it?
I wouldn't lie to you. What would I gain by lying? There would be no point.
(Laughs) Exactly. There is no point in taking notes you will never look at again. Who are you kidding with this anyway, certainly not the people who know you. Have you noticed how they stop listening when you talk about your work? Work! There's the joke in itself.
I'm sorry if it bothers you, would it help if I were to put my notebook down?
Why are you being so nice to me? You're always being nice to me. I bet you're nice to everyone even when you don't feel like it, even when you're screaming inside and want to tear their faces apart for asking stupid questions.
I don't have a problem with anger if that's what you mean.
I see our time has come to an end. Is there anything else you would like to say before we conclude?
Yes. I rang yesterday and reserved a single seat for the matinee next week in exchange for two seats that were booked for the evening.
OK, let me just get those details up on the computer. Here we are, Mrs _. What a shame, you have wonderful seats for the evening. I see that you booked some time ago. Will you be able to return the two tickets you don't require before the show and we'll post this one out for you straight away?
I'm not sure that will be possible, I did explain this when I rang before. My husband passed away you see, which is why I now only need the one ticket.
I am sorry to hear that Mrs_Let me just check with the manager that we are happy to issue the new ticket without a return. I won't keep you a moment.
( A few seconds later.)
Hello, sorry to keep you waiting, Mrs_. The manager is happy to issue the ticket if you wouldn't mind posting back the originals at your own convenience.
As I explained, I am far too busy organizing the funeral. I'll be cutting it fine getting from the crematorium to the theatre on the day as it is, surely there's a way around this? I would very much like to see the show. I was told a full refund on the extra seat would be no problem under the circumstances.
Can't write, won't write. Not at the moment anyway. The truth is I'm in a waiting room, not sure where but I can see you and hear you, you are still within reach - just. Don't know when this withdrawal will end but it doesn't necessarily follow that this is an unpleasant place to be. More about knowing than doing for the time being.
Here's a little something to bridge the gap while we wait.
For I see now that I am asleep that I dream when I am awake.
Pedro Calderon de la Barca (1600-81) Spanish playwright and poet. Life is a Dream (1635), Act 2