Temporary is a weekly series of time limited posts testing out excerpts of texts that are being reworked / rehabilitated / drafted / developed for publication. Each text will be online for 1 week only. Comments welcome.

Desk, 2 March 2020, Emma Bolland

 

KITCHEN: B— stands by the stove, one hand raised to her head, caught in the backward motion of pushing her hair from her brow. Her face is tilted slightly towards the gaze. From behind her the light from the narrow window delineates her profile and casts a Heiligenschein about her sleep-angled hair. Her eyes are cast down towards the coffee pot. The light from the window streams through its steam, echoing her Heiligenschein and the gas flame that licks about its base. At her feet a cat looks up, expectant…

BATHROOM: B—’s head is seen from behind, framed by a small, round, mirror. Extended forward from the wall via a retractable scissor arm, the mirror’s metal frame reflects the light. Behind it the wall tiles are bright white and shining. In the glass of the mirror B—’s skin is pale, dry, and flaked along one cheek. Her eyes, tired and lined, are slightly widened. Her expression infers a resigned surprise. The absence of colour, or shadow, the stark light and reflective surfaces, are all suggestive of a hospital, clinic, or other institution. Off screen, the sound of a cat scratching at the door…

BEDROOM: B— sits on the edge of the bed, her head, seen in partial profile, turned towards the window. The curtains are only slightly drawn and the light falls into the room in a narrow, elongated parallelogram, slicing a near-vertical diagonal across her face and body. Nose, cheek, one collarbone, one breast, one thigh are struck. Both hands clutch at the underwear on her lap. Beside her on the bed lie a pair of jeans. Behind her sits a cat, its back turned…

STUDY: Seen at an angle from the doorway, the room is small and conspicuously untidy. Floor and surfaces are covered with books, folders, scraps of paper, plates, mugs. A rug is rucked against a chair. A desk is set against the left hand wall, bookshelves against the right. B— sits at the desk, at a forty-five degree angle to the gaze. She is slumped forward, arms forward, head resting in the crook of her elbow, face turned towards the window. The sunlight illuminates the whole room, the evenly spread brightness rendering the scene two-dimensional. In front of her a monitor displays a black and white GIF, a dancer caught in an endless reverse turn. In one of the bookshelves sits a cat, its head tucked down between its paws…

HALLWAY: B— is framed by the door behind her, through which is glimpsed a brightly lit room, emphasising the gloom of the hall. B— stands face to the gaze, feet set square and shoulders slightly hunched. She holds a phone in both hands roughly eight inches from her face. the light from the room behind her casts her almost entirely in silhouette. The light from the upheld phone is just enough to describe her features. Her face is slack—expressionless—eyes fixed on the rectangle of the screen. In the room behind her, a cat walks past the door…

STUDY: The room is sepia with scant light. The sky outside is vivid, glowing with a dark turquoise dusk. A lamp casts a pale circle on the desk. The monitor displays a night-sky screensaver: cream speckled indigo. B— is viewed from above, lying on the study floor. Face up, arms at her sides, her hair forming a narrow corona about her head. Her eyes are open, their focus almost, but not quite, meeting the gaze. Beside her lies a cat, stretched out in a streak of black…

BATHROOM: As before, the room is harshly lit. B— is seen from front left. She sits on the toilet, jeans around her ankles, a book beside her on the edge of the bath. She leans forward, shoulder hunched, holding a phone in both hands, its screen about eight inches from her face. Her expression is blank, slack, her eyes fixed on its screen. Off screen, the sound of a cat scratching at the door…

EXTERIOR: An upward gaze views a large first floor leaded window of pale blue and green alternate diamond patterned glass. The room is lit and the window glows against the night. B— stands motionless behind the glass, as if trapped under water. Her arms are raised, holding each side of the window frame, cruciform. She is recognisable only by her silhouette, which takes on the colours of the window panes. To her left, the outline of a cat is seen sitting upon the window sill, head turned back into the room…

STUDY: The room is in half-light. A wall lamp casts an arc of ochre glow, the desk lamp re-angled so that its pale circle is now an ellipse that spreads along the surface. B— is seen from the side. She sits upright in the chair, fingers hovering above the keyboard, eyes attentive to the screen. We see the open document. In it are written two words: A Treatment. On the desk, beside the monitor, a cat is curled…

KITCHEN: The blind is pulled down leaving the room dim, almost black. Fain sodium strips indicate the narrow gaps between the slats. B— is seen from the side, at a slight rear angle, bent at the waist before an open refrigerator. The refrigerator light bleaches her face white against the darkness of the room. The refrigerator is empty, save for a jar whose contents, ruby red, seem to pulse with light. B—’s left hand touches the jar. At her feet, a cat appears…

BEDROOM: The room is in total darkness, punctuated every two seconds by faint blue light from a bedside clock, whose characters, when illuminated, read: ‘SET DATE AND TIME’. The brief punctuations the shape of B—, lying diagonally in the bed, can just bee seen. Her face is turned towards the clock. Her eyes are open. To her right there is the small shape of a cat, sleeping…

LIGHT: Where are you?