Monologue by Jenny Lancaster-Symington

Ageless girl sits in corner on library floor, staring at the knife in her grasp. No one else there. Lights dimmed but spotlight intensifies on her as speech escalates.

(Tear-choked, defeated; rising passion):

The day started well enough;

like all beginnings, it was

innocently sincere; deceptively dull

- naïve, believing so faithfully

the day wouldn't trip up somewhere.

It fell apart when I woke up. Revelation's

a harsh, powerful thing; you accept

the truth for so long, only to discover

it's in fact only a perception, a variation

on Truth which mightn't be the truth

at all. Truth's the core of reality;

surface's what we make of it.

Mine's twisted with confusion, and raw

with wounds of betrayal… I'm in deep now…

My mind tugged at the drapes cloaking our

universe's fourth wall, time retaliated

and whole chunks of day

went, swallowed by existential crises.

It's no wonder I'm failing maths;

more of a book person myself. (laughs bitterly)

But that doesn't matter. I don't. We,

as atomic blips on the galaxy's radar,

don't… The knife glints…

I read author names

decorating these spines and wonder,

will we be remembered? To be carried

through centuries, as Odysseus was,

is a privilege exclusive to

philosophers and poets.

Even then fame is short-lived.

We're all just numbers; tallies

totted up for studies on cancer,

fated to be part of biology questions,

frustrating statistics that'll pass,

identity unrecognised, beneath lives

of the existing. (runs thumb along blunt side of knife)

If I were shot now, what would I be

but perhaps a brief name

on a news clip?

The temporary tragedy that'll lose itself

in curtain folds of years…

So why?

Why exist if we don't matter?

Physics says we are matter, so why don't I feel like it?

We're particles of footprints, impact so molecular

it's pointless, particularly when we sprawl, intentions

dispersed, as effective as dust

tickling nose hairs.

A sneeze? That's what we earn?

That's what we live for?

But then, suppose we unified… broadened, deepened the footprint…

Is that not a valid purpose, no matter how miniscule?

(snaps fingers, stands)

Now it returns to me!

That beautiful scent of purpose!

(drops knife) Forget this knife, forget that selfless act!

Now I will live for myself, unswayed by others. Now I must live for life itself…

(looks at book spines) …For our names are, after all,

preserved in grave stones…