The X Page: A Storytelling Workshop


by Ana Marco Gascon


Mum’s screams shake me like thunder, striking me top to bottom.

My little sister Elvi and I run to the kitchen. I am trying to make sense of the situation, but Mum’s screams do not let me focus or think clearly. I can feel Mum’s pain through
her screams. I try to ground her. I grab her arms and press her down into the armchair where she’s sitting, but she continues screaming. She’s like a wild horse. I can barely hold her down in the chair.

Lola, Mum’s friend, appears in the kitchen. I slowly step back from the chair, and Lola takes over. She is a non-practicing nurse so I feel Mum is in good hands. Elvi also
appears in the kitchen. She is the one who’s called Lola. We are both physically here, but we can’t interact, or reach for each other.

I’m terrified that what seems to be happening is indeed happening.

I turn around and I notice a letter in the kitchen buffet, near the phone. I read it, once, twice… The words keep slipping and do not stick. Mum is still screaming.

I need to look for clues to tell me this can’t be true.

The garage. Dad always leaves his keys on top of the car. I look. The keys are here. I see his wallet and his watch. But he never leaves these things in the car. Could this really be true?

All of a sudden, I am in my parents’ bedroom on the second floor. I feel I was pulled here. I find Dad’s wedding ring on his bedside table. I can’t think. I need to keep moving, to find something that will tell me this is a misunderstanding.

I am in the attic, top floor. Last floor to check. I’m standing alone. The air is cold. No other sound but distant screams. My breath is very shallow. I think there is some pressure on my chest that is causing this shortness of breath. My thoughts and feelings are too intense to hold.

Are we really three from now on?

There is a glass door that separates the attic from the staircase. Mom’s screams are muffled here. I like the distance and isolation. Mum has been screaming Dad’s name for the last…not sure how long.

I fight back and forth between: “Is it true, are we three?” and “This can’t be happening.”

My mind has somehow separated from my reality. It takes me some while to notice my sister Elvi’s presence behind me. She is saying something, but I can’t locate the
meaning of her words. We are floating in our own bubbles. Elvi leaves the attic and again I find myself alone.

Mom seems quieter now. In the calm, I sense my surroundings. I realize I’ve been pacing the attic all this time. I hear my steps on the floating wood floor. They sound too loud. There is no other sound. The house is quiet. The attic is very cold.

Nothing here provides any clues about why or how or what or when.

I hope Dad can hear my thoughts.

Dad—I am here, Elvi is here, Mum is here, and we are all waiting for you. No room for blame or judgement. We just really need you to come back home.

Does he really hear me? Maybe, because a few hours from now, he will appear—in the middle of the night, looking lost and confused, cold, drunk, with cuts everywhere.

But that is later, and this is now.

Now, I curl into a ball on the floor and burst into tears, as the clues click into place, and I am alone in the cold attic. I don’t need to keep it together any longer, not for Elvi, not for Mom, not even for me. Dad, I can’t wait to have you back…