Gareth, in his late forties, a large but clearly mild-mannered Yorkshireman. He sits in a worn armchair, nursing a cup of tea.
Don’t do much these days. Doesn’t bother me. Got myself a nice little soundtrack to the way of things, you know -television, traffic, usual talk, casual, small. Keep seeing the sun glance in like someone saying “go on, I dare you.” Well. I tend to close the curtains. This room’s nice, in’t t? A bit..uh, old-fashioned for some people but we’ve never gone in for modern stuff. These sofas are quite new. DFS. That place. Always got a sale on, can’t be right, can it. Of course, they’ll say it was £600 but it’s been knocked down to £200 whole time it’s been in bloody shop. DFS – Dump For Shite- sorry. That’s what me daughter calls it. Got thirty channels on the television, never anything useful on – people always say that but come seven o’ clock – the One show, a program about bloody nothing – people’ll still be watching it. I keep watching it. Can’t seem to just reach for the remote and turn it off. Laziness, that is. Bad habit. Janey, she says – my wife, Janey – says it’s worse me sitting here than anything that might, you know, if I… Shouldn’t think about it. Do anyway, can’t help it.(He swallows some tea then makes a face. It has gone very cold.) Bloody typical, that is. I swear you spend more time looking at it than drinking it. (He stares into the tea) Little face in there laughing at me (then catching himself)..oh, I don’t half sound daft sometimes…I have very..silly..thoughts. I’m meant to take tablets for it but. Well, I just feel a bit silly. I’m not loony. Ask me mates, ask Janey, she’ll tell you, I’m the dullest bloke in Batley, at least. Maybe whole of West Yorkshire. I don’t think it would’ve been so bad if it were a bloke. Someone a bit like me. I wish it had been – I can’t say sorry enough. Shouldn’t think about it. No point. Still do, though. Wake up to it. Go to sleep staring at it. Little red coat. Can’t seem to get past that. She had her little red coat on. I bet she really loved that coat, little kids get so proud of things, don’t they? She had mittens on too, they were blue, a very…bright blue..those colours right next to each other, made my stomach turn but that, well, could’ve just been the blood- I don’t like to go on about it. Janey says, “oh, don’t go on about it, love”. Like it’s just a little thing. Like I left the fridge door open and accidentally..defrosted the kievs. She means well. But she can’t do much for me, really. Terrible business. Can’t get past it, even if the..hearing..proved it was very much – that it was really was just a case of ‘particular..something..circumstance’ – just an accident. But.what does that do, eh? That word. Makes it seem little..just this little thing, but it’s their..little girl.. Her name’s Lucie. Lovely name, that. We were going to call our Katie that…makes me think of what I’d have done. If it was Katie, if some bloody idiot just didn’t act quick enough – she looked me right in the eye. Bless her little heart, she knew it, she knew I couldn’t stop. She knew I’d let her down. (He recovers himself, then checks the clock – it’s seven) Ooh.. (He switches on the television, we hear the opening credits for the One show, they seem to calm him..) I get help with it. Counsellor woman comes round every so often. Tells me I’ve got a guilt complex when I shouldn’t. Say it’s no good torturing myself. (He drinks the tea again, seemingly oblivious to its temperature.) Can’t be helped. Can’t helped. It’s just…ever such blue eyes. You don’t forget eyes like that. You just. You cant. That woman, bless her, she says, Gareth, it is not your responsibility. But that’s not what it is, at all, really. It’s not that..that bothers me.