Hachi is wearing a moth-eaten bathing gown. The room is dark and in the centre of it is an ancient marital bed. She walks about the room, agitated. She stops and stares at a wall behind the bed.
Suddenly, the wall is lit by an overhead projection of a man. He appears to be in his late 30ies and has a black moustache. Hachi turns to the audience.
Hachi: I was married once, you know. Every time I had to fill out a survey I checked the box, MARRIED. Now I don’t know what to do. Single. Widowed. Domestic partnership! There’s no box for cheated on and left to rot.
One day somebody in that parliament will wake up and do something, they will make that box available because…there are too many of us.
We’re pretty when we’re young. They admire us, wolf-whistle, ask us out on dates! Dates!
They take us out to dinner. We spend five hours getting ready then sit in front of them, carefully drinking out of a glass so we don’t smudge our lipstick. They ply us with wine, hoping we will get tipsy enough to let go of inhibitions and our knickers.
We’ve waited for this moment all our lives so when they propose we let out a high-pitched yes. We diet for months until the big day, and fall into a carbohydrate coma the night after. Too much cake. They bring up marital duties. We laugh and say we’ll cook. It’s still funny then.
They stop shaving. They sit at home on the sofa, demanding lunch and where is my shirt honey? We reply, I am ironing it, dear. We are beginning to sound like our mothers. We clean while they go to the pub and come home late. They look at other women. We don’t know what to do anymore.
So we fall pregnant. A child. How different will things be.
They cook, clean, do all the work around the house, so THEIR child can grow unharmed.
When their son is born and nurses place him on our chest, still sticky with blood they pet our hair, tears streaming down their cheeks.
MY son. My son!
They paint the nursery blue, they learn how to change diapers. They get up in the middle of the night to feed the little one.
They tell all their friends, I HAVE A SON.
And so the child goes on.
Killing the neighbour’s cat. Oh, boys.
(Hachi raises her voice here and turns slightly. Every time she says “he” she points at the picture of the man behind her)
So HE comes home with big news. Job in a different country. Good money, wipe your tears, pack. The kid will learn Spanish, their brain is like a sponge at this age. Just shut up crying, will you?
We move and I don’t speak Spanish. I have nobody to talk to besides the stray cats I feed in the garden.
He is always working late.
I stop brushing my hair.
I lose a tooth.
He says I’m ugly.
There is another woman. I know because I smell her perfume on his shirt.
He denies it.
At night he rolls far away from me until one day I ask, can we have another child.
He says, I’m leaving.
I don’t cry. I still have a child. My life.
(She looks at her ex husband’s picture, her voice slowly starting to break as she speaks)
My life, a piece of trash.
But you know. I still have a child.
I am past my best. But he will go on. (she nods in her husband’s direction. The overhead projector switches to a photo of him winking at her)