Read Constellations Online

Authors: Nick Payne

Constellations (7 page)

Roland
   Too weak?

Marianne
   Yes.

Roland
   Okay, sorry.

Marianne
   He said that if I'm too weak for radiotherapy then chemo is probably better.

Roland
   Okay.

Marianne
   He … he said that …

Roland
   We can stop.

Marianne
   No, I'm okay.

Roland
   We could eat.

Marianne
   No, I'm fine.

Roland
   Honestly, we can stop, we can eat.

Marianne
   Think I'd rather. Think I'd rather just get –

Roland
   No, you're right –

Marianne
   Think I'd rather just get through it.

Roland
   Absolutely.

Marianne
   It's a year.

Roland
   A year?

Marianne
   Probably less.

Roland
   It's probably less than a year?

Marianne
   He didn't say that, but.

Roland
   They didn't say that?

Marianne
   I went online.

Roland
   But they didn't tell you that?

Marianne
   They said we should talk about all of that when we next meet, but when I got back to campus –

Roland
   Mary –

Marianne
   I know, I know. It's stupid. I shouldn't have done it. I went on a forum.

Roland
   A forum?

Marianne
   People had left all these dedications to all these people they had known that had died. There were pages and pages of them. Most of them were really wet and drippy. I got really fucking angry.

Roland
   Angry?

Marianne
   There's so much bullshit.

Roland
   You mean on the –

Marianne
   When someone dies.

Roland
   Right.

Marianne
   There's so much bullshit. ‘When your time's up your time's up.'

Roland
   Right.

Marianne
   ‘
Time
', I mean what on earth are they even talking about?

Roland
   Why don't we –

Marianne
   ‘She was a real fighter.' Was she? Well, she obviously didn't do a very good fucking job, did she?

Roland
   All right.

Marianne
   Some of them had uploaded photos.

Roland
   We should eat.

Marianne
   There was a photograph of a woman with God knows how many tubes hanging out of her and she was surrounded by these garish fucking balloons.

Roland
   Some people like to give people balloons.

Marianne
   If you give me a balloon, I will fucking garotte you.

Roland
   Note to self.

Marianne
   And if you put a photo of me on a fucking forum, I will haunt the shit out of you.

Roland
   No forums.

Marianne goes to cry, but stops herself.

Okay. Let's eat. We should eat.

*   *   *

Marianne and Roland use sign language for the following lines.

Marianne
   It's a kind of cancer. A kind of tumour.

Roland
   Okay.

Marianne
   It's at the front.

Roland
   Okay.

Marianne
   It's the reason I've been having trouble typing.

Roland
   I understand.

Marianne
   The doctor thinks they should operate.

Roland
   Good.

Marianne
   Operation to start with.

Roland
   Great.

Marianne
   Then he suggested radiotherapy.

Roland
   Okay.

Marianne
   But he said that if I'm too weak for radiotherapy then chemo is probably better. It's a year.

Roland
   A year?

Marianne
   Might be less.

Roland
   Less than a year?

Marianne
   Yes.

Roland
   Less than one year of your life to live?

Marianne
   Wasn't specific.

Roland
   What did the doctor say?

Marianne
   I went online.

Roland
   Who said less than one year?

Marianne
   They said we should talk about all of that when we next meet, but when I got back to campus, I went on a forum.

Roland
   A forum?

Marianne
   Yes.

Roland
   Why did you go on to a forum?

Marianne
   People had left all these dedications to all these people they had known that had died. There were pages and pages of them. Most of them were really wet and drippy. I got really angry.

Roland
   Angry?

Marianne
   There's so much crap.

Roland
   What do you mean?

Marianne
   When someone dies.

Roland
   Right.

Marianne
   There's so much crap. ‘When your time's up your time's up.'

Roland
   Right.

Marianne
   ‘She was a real fighter.' Was she? Well, she obviously didn't do a very good fucking job, did she?

Roland
   All right.

Marianne
   Some of them had uploaded photos.

Roland
   We should have something to eat.

Marianne
   There was a photograph of a woman with God knows how many tubes hanging out of her and she was surrounded by these garish fucking balloons.

Roland
   Some people like to give people balloons.

Marianne
   If you give me a balloon, I will fucking garotte you.

Roland
   Note to self.

Marianne
   And if you put a photo of me on a fucking forum, I will haunt the shit out of you.

Roland
   No forums.

Marianne goes to cry, but stops herself.

Why don't we have something to eat?

*   *   *

Marianne
   
I think I'd like to go abroad.

Roland
   
What do you mean?

Marianne
   
I'm not. I'm not sure how much of a difference the chemo is really making.

Roland
   
D'you mean you're not sure or they're not sure?

Marianne
   
I mean me. I mean I'm not sure.

Roland
   
Why? What aren't you sure about, why aren't you sure?

Marianne
   
It's ganging

It's

It's

I was coming home. I was on the train and I was c-coming home. A group of men got on. A group of thirty-year-old men. They were pissed. I was sat at a table and I had my laptop out. They sat at my table and the table opposite. They started, they started winding me up. I put my laptop in my bag and I tried to move to a different seat. But they blocked me, they wouldn't let me past. I couldn't speak. I couldn't find the right words and they started laughing. They howled with laughter. I started to cry and finally one of them said that's enough.

Roland
   
You should have said, you should have told me.

Marianne
   
I went on to campus.

Roland
   
What do you mean, what for?

Marianne
   
To have lunch with Melisa. I had a seizure.

Roland
   
What? When? Mary.

Marianne
   
A couple of weeks ago.

Roland
   
A couple of weeks ago?

Marianne
   
Yes.

Roland
   
Why didn't you tell me?

Marianne
   
It's the words, Roland. It's exhibit

It's ex

It's becoming more and more
          
tiring.

Roland
   
You mean speaking to me, the two of us, is tiring, or you mean everything?

Marianne
   
I mean everything.

Roland
   
I didn't realise.

Marianne
   
I know.

Roland
   
I'm sorry.

Marianne
   
I know.

Roland
   
I don't know what to do.

Marianne
   
You don't have to do anything.

Roland
   
I want to help.

Marianne
   
You are.

Roland
   
So when you say abroad, you mean abroad and not come back?

Marianne
   
Potentially
          
yes.

Roland
   
How does it work?

Marianne
   
You become a member.

Roland
   
A member?

Marianne
   
Pay some money.

Roland
   
How much?

Marianne
   
I don't know what it is in pounds.

Roland
   
Then what?

Marianne
   
If you're serious you write to them.

Roland
   
Meaning what?

Marianne
   
Outline why they ought to be taking you seriously.

Roland
   
And if they do?

Marianne
   
You meet someone.

Roland
   
Out there or here?

Marianne
   
Out there. You

You

You have to meet them a couple of times.

Roland
   
Always out there?

Marianne
   
I think so.

Roland
   
Then what?

Marianne
   
Then it's up to you.

Roland
   
How do they do it, how does it work?

Marianne
   
They use something called a Bar

Abar

A

A

Roland
   
It's okay.

Marianne
   
They mix it with water.

Roland
   
I don't really know what to say.

Marianne
   
You don't have to say anything.

Roland
   
No I know but I want to; I want to know what to say to you.

Marianne
   
A lot of people apparently never go through with it.

Roland
   
How do you mean?

Marianne
   
A lot of people, once they've been given the green night

Night

Once they've
          
A lot of

Roland
   
It's okay.

Marianne
   
They're, they're happy enough knowing it's there.

Roland
   
How do you know that?

Marianne
   
It's on the website.

Roland
   
When you say a lot how many are we talking?

Marianne
   
I think it was something like two-thirds. Safety net. For a lot of people.

Roland
   
And is that how you're feeling about it?

Marianne
   
I don't know.

Roland
   
Would I be able to come with you?

Marianne
   
I'm going to speak to Martin. Would you want to? Come with me.

Roland
   
Would you want me to come with you?

Marianne nods. Beat.

Marianne
   
I keep thinking of Mum.

Roland
   
In what way?

Marianne
   
Before she died.

Roland
   
Right.

Other books

The Raider by McCarty, Monica
The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze
Cato 05 - The Eagles Prey by Simon Scarrow
Ivory Tower by Lace Daltyn
Tokyo Love by Diana Jean
Deadly Sins by Lora Leigh
Reality Girl: Episode One by Jessica Hildreth