in a red and black phone box,
Phoning Home (if you can still call it that)
Robert: I’m not going back.
Robert: I just can’t face it, Mum. Everybody’ll know.
Marianne: So what?
Robert: So, I can’t face all the looks. The questions. The unasked questions. God, the pity.
Marianne: Don’t be ridiculous. No-one will pity you. Besides, you’ll be snapped up in no time.
Robert: I don’t want to be snapped up, Mum. I don’t want anyone else. Not now. Not ever.
Marianne: Darling, I know that’s how it feels at the moment.
Robert: This is how it’ll feel forever.
Marianne: No, darling, it won’t. I promise you.
Robert: How do you know?
Marianne: I know.
Robert: But how?
Marianne: You’re only 21.
Robert: What difference does that make?
Marianne: You’ve still got your whole life ahead of you.
Robert: Yes, without Elspeth.
Marianne: Don’t be so…
Robert: So, what?
Marianne: Nothing, nothing. But don’t throw away your education. Come back. Do your final year. Perhaps at home instead of Oxford? If that’s easier?
Robert: Of course it won’t be easier. There’ll be even more reminders of her at home. And I could bump into her.
Marianne: Well, a different uni then? Where you don’t know anyone?
Robert: Mum, you’re not listening. I’m not coming back. I’m staying in Italy.
Marianne: Think about your future. It’s just one year, but then you’ll have finished your degree.
Robert: My mind’s made up.
Marianne: Ugh, don’t give that trollop–
Robert: Don’t call her that.
Marianne: Well, she is. Running off with that bloke. Ridiculous, it is. And now I hear she’s knocked up.
Robert: Elspeth’s… Elspeth’s pregnant?
Marianne: Yes. Stupid girl. Anyway, Robert. Enough about her. Robert? Robert?