Stripped

This spoken word piece was written for Vessel, a devised show produced by Quintessence Theatre Company in 2015.

Court

Stripped

I stand
Stripped.
I take in
His hands
His face
The light in his eyes
I dive into the heart
Of my hearts
The well of yearning
The rush of knowing
And I say, I’m ready.

I stand
Stripped
Tears in the shower
My heart wrung to pieces
As grief drops down like a stone.
Five weeks,
They said to me.

Five weeks.
Thirty-five days of
Waiting
Wondering
Staring into
Another sleepless night.

I stand
Stripped
Tears in the shower
Tears in the car
Tears On the way to work
On the way back home
On the crumpled tissues
That adorn my bedroom floor
Where he once walked
Saying, I’ll never leave you.

Five weeks,
They said to me
And you must think of the children
Think of them
Think of their lives
That have yet to be
Their hopes
Their dreams
Their will to live
Give them that chance.

I have no chance to give.

I stand
Stripped
Tears in the shower
Tears on my bedsheets
Tears On the clothes he left behind
On the aeroplane
In the taxi
In the dusty hostel room
I stand
And I remember
His hands
His face
The light in his eyes
His moment of goodbye
And voices telling me
To think of the children.

I think of the children.
I think of the children they ignored
The children who struggled
Who screamed for help
Who were sent away
Exiled
Imprisoned
Enslaved
In damp laundry rooms
I think of the children who ceased to matter
As soon as they were born
The children who cease to matter
As long as they are born.

Seven weeks,
They say to me.
Are you ready?
Take a seat
Wait
Relax
As well as you can.

Outside, I stand
And I remember
The tears in the shower
Tears on my bedsheets
Tears
In the car
On the clothes he left behind
On the crumpled tissues
That adorned my bedroom floor
Tears. Relief. Tears. Relief. Yearning. Relief.

I think of what might have been
– the light in his eyes, his moment of goodbye –
And I know I could have done nothing more.

At the check-in desk
I stand
Stripped
Nullified
Trembling
They ask about my holidays
And words tumble from my lips
The evasions
The stories
The hope of being seen as
Something other than who I am.

I take in
The opinions thrust forward
In the courts of law
In the hospitals
In the press
Online articles
Anonymous comment boards
The accusations
The memories
The suggestions
That I ought to be seen as
Something other than who I am.

As the storm rages
I stand
Stripped
And I say,
I’m ready.
Ready to speak
To ask
To demand
To answer
Ready
To stop being seen as
Something other than who I am.

I stand
Stripped.