Her Beating Heart

It slowly crawls closer every day, its scales glistening in the sun as it crinkles along, growing with each breath. At least, that is what the emptiness in my head feels like, though I know you cannot understand. Even today, in the nineteenth century, we have little knowledge of why one turns insane, why one scorns reality. And it is thus ignorance that has discarded me here on these grounds, just left waiting for a doctor who will not slaughter my spirit, yet raise me from the ashes of my mind.
Is this him?

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7. scene 7

Georgina is sitting on the steps that lead down into the audience. If theatre do not have these seat her on the edge of stage. She’s reading Jane Austin.

(Eric enters)

Eric- Ah. I thought I would find you here.

Georgina- Oh. Hello.

Eric- (Sarcastically) I can tell you are happy to see me.

Georgina- Sorry, my mind is in other places I guess.

Eric- (Sits next to her) I have days like that. I normally turn into a knight of king Arthur (laugh) The gallant sir Eric, Knight of the round table.

Georgina- To ride to imaginary places in one’s head is but taunting ones soul.

Eric- Here, I brought you something. (Hands a small flower out to her) I just saw it as I was trying to find you.

Georgina- (laughing) A brave knight who enjoys the meditation of picking flowers for mad young girls.

Eric- Keeps his wicked soul clean. What can I say?

Georgina- What did you do this morning then?

Eric- There are over two thousand books in your library, as Richard has told me.

Georgina- And I plan to read every one of them.

Eric- Which reminds me. Why is Hamlet so well read then?

Georgina- Why does it struck you as strange that a girl has a favourite book?

Eric- It does not. But the reason she chose hamlet as that book, does.

Georgina- Maybe a mad girl likes mad company.

Eric- Well, that doesn’t bode well for me. Does it?

Georgina- No, but you won’t be around me for long.

Eric- Why do you say that?

Georgina (silent for a couple of seconds.) – Why aren’t you scared of me?

Eric- Do you want me to be?

Georgina- I just… Don’t understand.

Eric- There are more people like you Georgina. (Two heartbeat sounds ring out)  You are not alone and I am here as well.

Georgina (Quietly)- Where? No. yes. (gets louder till she shouting and standing)  There aren’t. No. No there can’t be. Where are they then? Who are you anyway? The way you come in here and try to- to, I don’t know. (Falls besides Eric so she’s kneeling in his face. Speak venomously) What makes you so different Mr Parkensons? I am mad, crazy, off my head! Why should you change me? Who gave you the right to decide what is to be accepted and what should not?

(Georgina goes to run but Eric grabs her arm)

Eric- I don’t understand. What is it? I thought you would be happy about it? Does it scare you more to accepted?

(Georgina falls to the floor on her side so she is facing the audience. She’s breathing hard.)

Georgina?

Georgina- I am always scared.

Eric- Why?

Georgina- Because I do not understand. Everyone seems to know themselves or who they are or what they want to be. They always forget me. I am not important, just a speck ruining their perfect lives. Then I wreck myself because I think, if I wanted to be sane, surely… surely I should be able to do it myself. I do not need help, I have always been on my own.

Eric- I will never forget you.

Georgina- Why?

Eric- You are bound to a house and a garden and yet you are freest person I have ever known.

Georgina- Will they let me go?

Eric- Go where?

Georgina- Above the clouds where angels sing and your troubles are no more. (Two heart beats)

Eric- You mean, will they let you die. No. No, of course not. How do you know you will be happy after death? How do you know it is all you have been promised? Why do you think people are desperate to live?

(Georgina sits up and straightens her dress.)

Georgina- It was only a question.

Eric- Please, do not ever ask it again.

Georgina- Does it scare you?

Eric- Yes.

(Pause)

Georgina- Do you have any siblings?

Eric- A younger sister called Martha. She is twelve tomorrow.

Georgina- So young…Could be anything.

Eric- Not anything.

Georgina- She lives out there, of course she can.

Eric- Life is not fair I am afraid.

Georgina- I know.

Eric- Even out there.

Georgina- I do not want to know.

Eric- Of course not. The day is still young, what are you planning to do with the rest of it?

Georgina- Read. Walk. Eat.

Eric- sounds exciting.

Georgina- What else will I do? Can I do?

Eric- Well, you could talk to me. But I wish I could stay for longer, however my study calls to me.

Georgina- Then go to your books Mr Parkensons… I am used to myself and just myself.

Eric- Your parents do not know we talk.

Georgina- My parents do not even know you have any inkling about my existence. They are scared that you will turn them down and leave them with a girl who scares them and a daughter who, at times, does not even know who they are.

Eric- Have you always been…

Georgina- Mad? No. It started when I was ten. The doctor, the only one my parents trusted, said it was always destined to happen.  My father was angry, he did not understand and thought I was being stupid and selfish at first.

Eric- What did he do?

Georgina- He beat me. (Two heart beats) I did not feel anything till after, and, of course, I could not protest.

Eric- That could not have made it any better.

Georgina- No.

Eric- What about your mother? What did she do?

Georgina- Please Eric. Go to your books, I will not be the reason you fall behind.

Eric- Georgina, I am sorry.

Georgina- (hoarsely) Go.

(Eric exits)

(Penny enters humming to herself)

Penny- Oh, Miss. Why these tears?

(Skips to sit next to her)

Such a lovely day! No need to cry away!

Georgina- Sorry?

Penny- I’m supposed ta be in the kitchen but I like it out here.

Georgina- So do I, quite calming.

Penny- Penny. That me, miss.

Georgina- You can call me Georgina, Penny.

Penny- Have you seen old Kipps?

Georgina- Who is old Kipps?

Penny- That dog that keeps coming into the kitchen ta see me. He ain’t been today.

Georgina- Sorry, I have not seen him.

Penny- You know what Georgina?

Georgina- I know a lot and nothing at all. What?

Penny- I used to play cricket with my friends. Is that bad?

Georgina- Bad? No, not at all. I will tell you a secret, Penny, I still love cricket and refuse to let anyone tell me not to.

Penny- I say ya should. Never don’t, Gee. Never let anyone say never, ‘cause if people always said never, what ever would get done?

Georgina- That’s brilliant. I shall remember that one.

Penny- Why?

Georgina- Because it is exactly right. Only the weak fall victim to others idiocy.

Penny- We all affected by it, miss. It ain’t weak to fall for it, but is to not get back up again.

 Georgina- How do you know all this?

Penny- My ma’ used ta tell me.

Georgina- Ah. You have a very wise ma’.

Penny- yup, yup I do, don’t I? Have you seen that doctor yet?

Georgina-Who? Eric? Yes I have, you?

Penny- No, yet, but Richard and Sofia have and we wondering if he could fix ya. We all wanna see ya be fixed.

Georgina- You do?

Penny- Yeah. Sofia think he don’t know enough, but Richard think he has something different ‘bout him.  Is ‘e nice? I heard he’s handsome.

Georgina- (laugh) Yes, very nice but very polite!

Penny- Ain’t that good?

Georgina- Well, yes.

Penny- But it makes ya uncomfortable?

Georgina- How did you guess?

Penny- It written all over ya face, miss.

Georgina- How old are you penny?

Penny- sixteen. My birthday is tomorrow though so I’m fifteen. But nobody knows, so I guess I stay fifteen.

Georgina- I know.

Penny- Ya do, don’t ya? I’ll tell ya a secret. I ‘Ave a locket round my neck.

Georgina- You… Do?

Penny- Ya. With the letters: P-E-N-E-L-O-P-E. Spells Penelope it does. That my name but ain’t, coz Penny’s my name.

Georgina- Penny is short for Penelope, yes?

Penny- Jus’ like Gee is short for Georgina.

Georgina- Yes, that is right. Can you read Penny?

Penny- Oh! Yes. Me mother taught me how!

Georgina- What happened to your mother?

Penny- she’s inside the house, ain’t she?

Georgina- Where is the house?

Penny- here, in Bedford. (Two heart beats)

Georgina- Right. I understand.

Penny- Understand what?

Georgina- We are not in Bedford Penny, but Hertford. Your mother… She is not here anymore.

(Tears well up in Penny’s eyes.)

Penny- ‘Course she is! She, she…

(silence)

 No. She sent me to find my father she did.

Georgina- How long ago was that?

Penny- I was ten.

Georgina- so you have been here for six years?

Penny- yeah.

Georgina- Oh, my.

Penny- What is it?

Georgina- It is fine Penny. If you can read (thinking) here take this.

(Hands Penny her book)

It is Pride and Prejudice.  I am sure you will enjoy it.

Penny- A book! I love books! Oh, my! Thanks miss. I shall keep it in my room. Lilly says it’s too small for a table or even a chair, but this is much smaller! I’ll keep it in there and read it all the time.

Georgina- That Is good to know.

Penny- I better go now. But you are my best friend and I will keep this safe. Lilly is my other best friend. Bye bye!

Georgina- Good day.

(They exit.)

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