Held Between

By Naomi George


The hospital/ psychiatric ward. Elaine is in bed.


I want to be loud with pain but I can only be quiet.

I can only whisper now until they come.



The bedroom.

Mila and Cain sit at the edge of the bed.

Mila: I use to watch my mother sleep sometimes if she fell asleep on the sofa or something, if Dad wasn’t around. And I would creep up to her real close just to test myself. Just see if I could. You’re supposed to do that aren’t you? You’re meant to test yourself, push yourself, face your fears type thing. I would whisper in her ear. I would ask her little questions even though I was scared to death. I don’t know why I did that.



The living room.

Moira: This may sound silly but in some ways I wish I had your life. Isn’t that silly? I mean what with all you’ve been through recently.

Mila: It’s my fault....

Moira: But you have the boy who loves you so much he would do anything for you and a family who care about you so much. Do you realise how lucky you are?


And of course your boobs still sit at an attractive, perky height from the floor. God, what I would do for tits like yours again.

Mila: I’ve done something.

Moira: My arse is okay. But these...God these things could poke the eyes out of the cat.

Mila: I’m to blame.

Moira: I’m just being silly really. Ignore me. I’m just being a silly old, pathetic woman.



The hospital/ psychiatric ward.

The Suited Man clutches Elaine’s arm and injects her. She doesn’t flinch at all.

Elaine: My little Mila, she’s coming to visit. She isn’t so little anymore. I’m going to wear the jester’s hat and she might laugh. And if she laughs then I might laugh and then them up there won’t come for me maybe. Maybe they’ll leave me alone.

The Suited Man: Ok dear.



A space


I walked into the place that I know is my future.

The doctor said she was getting worse.

He said it had to get worse before it got better and that was why she was on suicide watch.

I saw her lying on that bed and I wanted to hit her,

my own mother.


They said I only had fifteen minutes.

I travelled for almost two hours to see someone I couldn’t even look at

for fifteen minutes.

And she was wearing this ridiculous hat and it made me want to hit her even more.

I didn’t,

of course I couldn’t.

But I wanted to.

I kept thinking how much better it would be if she wasn’t like this, if I had a normal life with a normal mum who

told me to tidy my room,

and cooked me dinner,

told me not to talk with my mouth


Maybe even tried to talk to me about boys.


She fucking terrified me.

And time was running out.

I knew she could see me. She could see right into me and I could feel it swelling up inside me. It’s like she was in my bones and leaking out into my flesh. She was going to make me just like her and I didn’t want that. So I stood up

and I took my belt out of my jeans. I knew I couldn’t just leave it on the side or else the nurse would see it and confiscate it when she came in. I took off my belt and I looked at my mum in the eyes for the first time in such a long time and I lifted her head off the pillow.


She was smiling at me.


I lifted the pillow and put my belt underneath and then put her down again. I thought if she does this then it’s meant to be and maybe I can actually be somebody now. People will see me and they might actually see me. They might actually look in my face and not see you.


And I smiled back at her.

I felt good.

I knew what she would do and I felt good.

Not a single ounce of guilt.


People do bad things for good reasons. I was a lovely baby. I was good.


Scene 26

Before. Amos is at home. Elaine is in a psychiatric institution.

Amos: I’d undo the zip up on the back of your dress if you’d let me... if you’d let me.

Elaine walks around frenzied in her movements. She wears a hospital gown, thick bed socks and carries Mila’s belt and a jester’s hat in her hands. She places it on the ground.

Elaine: They’re here. I can smell the burning so strongly.

Elaine places the belt on the floor carefully.

Amos: If you’d let me, I’d make you feel okay. Make you feel like we used to when we were young...

Elaine undoes the hospital gown. It droops to the ground around her feet. She is in her underwear.

Amos: Because you are so beautiful. So lovely.

Elaine takes a chair, sizes it up. Looks to the sky. She is smiling. She’s almost happy.

Amos: I’d make you happy if I could.

Elaine picks up the jester’s hat, puts it on her head and laughs a full belly laugh. The belt is the final piece. She handles it delicately, as if it were sacred. Makes a loop and puts it over her head. Steps onto the chair.