Finding Audrey

Author: P Hana

Page 11

   

Who wants to be the great hope? Who wants to be “so talented”? Who wants the entire rest of year to slide their eyes round like daggers?

I mean, I don’t blame those teachers. I’m just saying.

So then. All the bad stuff happened. And I kind of slid off a cliff. And here I am. Stuck in my own stupid brain.

Dad says it’s totally understandable and I’ve been through a trauma and now I’m like a small baby who panics as soon as it’s handed to someone it doesn’t know. I’ve seen those babies, and they go from happy and gurgling to howling in a heartbeat. Well, I don’t howl. Not quite.

But I feel like howling.

You still want to know, don’t you? You’re still curious. I mean, I don’t blame you.

Here’s the thing: does it matter exactly what happened and why those girls were excluded? It’s irrelevant. It happened. Done. Over. I’d rather not go into it.

We don’t have to reveal everything to each other. That’s another thing I’ve learned in therapy: it’s OK to be private. It’s OK to say no. It’s OK to say, “I’m not going to share that.” So, if you don’t mind, let’s just leave it there.

I mean, I appreciate your interest and concern, I really do. But you don’t need to pollute your brain with that stuff. Go and, like, listen to a nice song instead.

MY SERENE AND LOVING FAMILY—FILM TRANSCRIPT

INTERIOR. 5 ROSEWOOD CLOSE. DAY.

The camera pans around the hall and focuses on the hall tiles.

AUDREY (VOICE-OVER)

So, these are old Victorian tiles or whatever. My mum found them in a skip and made us lug them all home. It took FOREVER. We had a perfectly good floor, but she was all like, “These are history!” I mean, someone threw them out. Does she not realize that?

MUM

Frank!

Mum comes striding into the hall.

MUM

FRANK!

(to Audrey)

Where is your brother?

Oh. You’re filming.

She flicks back her hair and pulls in her stomach.

MUM

Well done, darling!

FRANK ambles into the hall.

MUM

Frank! I found these on Felix’s playhouse.

She brandishes a bunch of sweet wrappers at him.

MUM

First of all, I don’t want you sitting on top of the playhouse, the roof is unstable and it’s a bad example to Felix. Second of all, do you realize how toxic this sugar is to your body? Do you?

Frank doesn’t reply, just glowers at her.

MUM

How much exercise do you take per week?

FRANK

Plenty.

MUM

Well, it’s not enough. We’re going on a run tomorrow.

FRANK

(outraged)

A run? Are you serious? A RUN?

MUM

You need to get out more. When I was your age, I lived outside! I was always playing sport, enjoying nature, walking through the woods, appreciating the outside world…

FRANK

Last week you said when you were our age you were “always reading books.”

MUM

Well, I was. I did both.

AUDREY

(from behind camera)

Last year you said when you were our age you were “always going to museums and cultural events.”

Mum looks caught out.

MUM

(snaps)

I was doing all of it. Anyway, we’re going for a run tomorrow. This is non-negotiable.

(as Frank draws breath)

Non-negotiable. NON-NEGOTIABLE, FRANK.

FRANK

Fine. Fine.

MUM

(over-casually)

Oh, and Frank. I was just wondering. There were some nice girls in your school play, weren’t there? Anyone on the…you know? Horizon? You should ask them round!

Frank gives her a withering look. The doorbell rings and Frank looks warningly at the camera.

FRANK

Hey, Aud, this is Linus, if you want to…you know. Get out of the way.

AUDREY (V.O)

Thanks.

Mum disappears into the kitchen. Frank heads towards the front door. The camera backs away but has a view of the front door.

Frank opens the front door to reveal LINUS.

FRANK

Hey.

LINUS

Hey.

Linus glances at the camera and it quickly swoops away and retreats.

Then, slowly, from a further distance, it comes back to rest on Linus’s face. It zooms in.

I mean, I was just filming him because he’s Frank’s friend. It’s just, you know. Family context or whatever.

OK. And he has a nice face.

Which I have watched on playback a few times.

The next day after breakfast Mum comes down in leggings, a pink crop top, and trainers. She has a heart rate monitor strapped round her chest and is holding a water bottle.

“Ready?” she calls up the stairs. “Frank! We’re going! Frank! FRANK!”

After an age, Frank appears. He’s wearing black jeans, a black T-shirt, his usual trainers, and a scowl.

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