And there will be ice cream
(The Lyceum is an old woman who has had a bad fever. She is sleeping now and the speaker is sitting next to her bed, in an uncomfortable hospital chair, stroking her hair and talking because she doesn’t know if The Lyceum is sleeping or unconscious, about to get better or to pass away. )
Sleep. That’s lovely, you sleep now. I’ll sit here and don’t you worry about anything. You sleep. I’ll be here when you wake up, I’ll be here when you open your eyes. I’m here always, waiting with you. You sleep, that’s it.
I haven’t seen you sleep so deeply for a long time.
Weeks, that is now. You need it, don’t you? Or do you? I wonder if we are your heart. I wonder if we are your sickness.
I wonder if you’re glad were gone and miss us at the same time. This is a time of Janus thoughts: how awful, aren’t we lucky. Please God and thank God. I wonder if you feel the same.
I miss the striving of you. I miss the struggle and the terror and the vapid desire to please an audience who probably don’t even care. They’ve probably been brought to you by a friend, got a season ticket and are making sure they get their money’s worth. But the roar of love from the stage captures them, maybe just for two minutes of an entire evening. For one silver sliver of a moment, despite themselves, despite every natural reservation, they are with us. They see that world created from gesture and noise and MDF. A tear in the fabric of the mundane. A glimpse into another universe.
(an alarm goes off. Speaker talks off mic to the nurse)
Nurse? Does that –
(an oxygen monitor alarm goes off.)
Oh it’s – because she moved, is it? It’s all right, is it? No, it’s just worrisome. When you hear that, you know? Yeah. She’s asleep.
(Speaker talks back to the Lyceum.)
That’s not something to worry about. You’ll be fine. Just keeping an eye on you. We have to keep an eye when your so still, don’t we? Because you’re all action usually.
(Very close to the mic, very intimate)
Oh my dear old gaudy darling, my dear old sloping balcony-ed sweetheart. We’ll tell stories again! We’ll tell each other stories! We’ll live out lives and battles and songs again, together.
When you wake up we’ll all get back to the glories and the fighting and storming off and white wine spillage and lip-pinching passive aggression. Back to smatters and roars of applause, to rapture and bafflement, to singing along and fiddling with coats and ‘put-that-bloody-phone-off’s.
You sleep darling and I’ll be here when you wake up. We’ll all be here.
And there will be ice cream.