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The Visit:

by F. David Peat

Beryl: And you say He's really in there, in your living room?

Gladys: We like to call it the drawing room actually.

Gran: Anyway I think He should have given you some warning. Fancy just turning up like that with our so much as a by your leave.

Gladys: It did give me a terrible turn to see Him just standing there.

Gran: And He glowed, didn't He Gladys? Tell Beryl how He glowed.

Gladys: Well I didn't really see that. I kept my head bowed, out of reverence.

Beryl: You would, wouldn't you? If something like that happened you would. (Pause) Glowing.

Gran: I still think He should have sent a message or something.

Beryl: And they shalt not know the time of my coming. We're always supposed to be prepared you see.

Gran: Angel means messenger. Like Gabriel.

Gladys: Of course I was prepared in a way. I've always said my prayers on my knees every night, even when it's been cold.

Gran: I know, dear.

Gladys: Its just...its just that its all so terribly inconvenient.

Beryl: It's to do with free will. If we knew what was going to happen before it did then we couldn't have free will could we and we couldn't be able to do evil. It's because God's omnipotent.

Gran: And fancy Him coming in sandals too.

Gladys: But He did take them off in the vestibule, Gran.

Gran: Mrs Foster wouldn't let her children into the hall in bare feet. She made her husband put on his slippers as soon as he came into the house. No matter how tired he was from work.

Gladys: He does have lovely feet.

Beryl: That's in the bible too, Gladys. "How beautiful are the feet".

Gran: You want to take a newspaper in that's what you want to do. In case there's mud.

Gladys: Oh, but that'd be dreadful.

Gran: You're always too soft with people letting them tread over you like that. Bert treads all over you, I've always told you that.

Gladys: But he is my husband.

Gran: That's no excuse.(Pause)

Beryl: Well what are you going to do? You can't just leave Him in there. You'd better go in and talk to Him, Gladys. Ask Him if He's comfortable. Maybe He'd like to put His feet up on the poof, He may be very tired. He must have done a lot of walking.

Gran: Forty days and forty nights.

Beryl: No that's Moses...I think.

Gladys: But I couldn't go in there on my own, I'd be mortified. You come in with me, Beryl.

Beryl: It's not my place, dear.

Gran: What if He finds one of Bert's books?

Gladys: Oh He wouldn't. He'd never snoop. Would He?

Gran: Well you never know, do you?

Beryl: He's omnipotent. He knows everything.

Gladys: Well not about things like that. It's not nice, books like that. I don't know why I ever let Bert bring them into the house in the first place. And we can't very well put them into the dustbin, everyone'd know.

Gran: It doesn't do to let other people know your business.

Gladys: They give him nightmares too. Sometimes he wakes in the night with a terrible cry. Like this.....(Shouts). Shakes the bed terribly. You see I can't get off afterwards, it's all too upsetting. Sometimes I just lie awake for hours and hours until the light comes in through the curtains.

Beryl: I didn't get off till half past three last night. I heard half past three striking on the clock in the hall. That's only five and a half hours sleep.

Gladys: I just lie there with my private thoughts.

Gran: It's that cheese you bought.

Gladys: What did you say, mother?

Gran: That cheese. He eats too much cheese at night. I've warned you before, Gladys. You ought to be more careful.

Gladys: I won't have you saying that, mother. That was good cheese, very good cheese. I'll never have anything cheap in my kitchen.

Gran: I know that, Gladys, I'm just telling you.

Gladys: I watched Mr Roberts cut that piece off the block. A nice piece of cheese, Mr Roberts, I said. It's for my hubby. I won't have you saying things like that mother, not whilst you're living under my roof. (Pause).

Beryl: What are we going to do? We can't just leave Him in there can we. Not the Lord Jesus.

Gran: Well I'm sorry if I've offended you, Gladys. I only said..

Gladys: That's all over and done with Mother.

Gran: It's just that I said....

Gladys: There's been enough said in this kitchen for one day. I don't like nastiness. There wasn't even a piece of rind on that cheese.

Gran: Oh I never said it was mouldy. That's a downright lie.

Beryl: Now dear don't get yourself worked up. She's getting herself worked up, Gladys. I don't like the colour around the mouth. We'd better make her a cup of tea.

Gran: Yes a cup of tea'd be very nice dear, very acceptable.

Beryl: Then I'll put the kettle on for you. You'd like a nice cup of tea too wouldn't you, Gladys?

Gladys: Very well.

Gran: Do you think He'll...?

Beryl: Oh, the kettle, when it whistles. I'd never thought of that. What do you think, Gladys?

Gladys: You mean offering Him a cup? It'd mean going in there and getting the silver teapot out of the sideboard. He'd see everything. (Pause) No, I'd be too embarrassed. Oh why did He have to come today?

Gran: And then there's the cups, Gladys.

Beryl: I could pop next door and get my china cups with the roses on. They're very good, they were a wedding present.

Gladys: It'd be such a terrible bother.

Beryl: And if you don't wash them out right away they stain. They're very good china.

Gladys: I do know how to wash china you know, Beryl, you don't have to remind me how to wash china. We do have china ourselves, you know.

Beryl: And you could use my Apostle spoons, they're real silver. Well silver plate, but very good plate. He'd never be able to tell they weren't solid.

Gladys: I thought you said He was omnipotent, dear?

Beryl: Now don't be blasphemous, Gladys.

Gran: She's very upset. She didn't get any sleep last night. Didn't you Dear?

Gladys: Well, I don't know what to do. I don't know what's for the best. (Pause) Do you think...?

Beryl: Yes, dear?

Gladys: Do you think we'd all be more comfortable if we just stayed in here and had a cup by ourselves, just the three of us?

Beryl: Right. I'll put the kettle on. There's no need to bother Jesus.

Gran: We can have it on a tray on our knees. It'll be like when you were children.

Beryl: And bread and butter cut in little fingers.

Gran: With the crusts off. (Pause)

Gladys: He's very quite in there.

Gran: Do you think He's all right? He hasn't had a turn our something?

Beryl: He'll be meditating.

Gladys: The vicar says that's even higher than prayer.

Beryl: ....Prayer and meditation.

Gran: ....And good works.

Gladys: Yes.(Pause) But then there's some people who don't want to be done good to, do they, Mother? They don't appreciate it.

Beryl: But you can't interfere can you? Well some people like to keep themselves to themselves.

Gran: I'll never be a burden to anyone. I've always paid my way.

Beryl: Yes, she's been very good, hasn't she, Gladys? (Pause)

Beryl: Do you think He'd like a glass of wine?

Gladys: Wine? Oh that is a good idea.

Gran: I'll get out your nice silver tray and give it a rub up. It'll come up beautiful.

Gladys: Beautifully, Mother.

Beryl: I've got a very nice bottle of sherry in the wardrobe, shall I pop next door and get it?

Gran: Oh that's a good idea, Beryl.

Beryl: Its very good. From Cyprus.

Gran: We had a drop of that last Christmas didn't we dear?

Beryl: You could put it in a decanter and no one'd be any the wiser. It could be the best French.

Gladys: And a few nice biscuits on a plate.

Gran: You'll have to get your lace doilies out.

Beryl: And He could spill a drop.

Gladys: Oh, the stain'd never come out and they were a wedding present too.

Beryl/Gran: (Together) Yes. (Pause)

Gladys: He is, well...dark, isn't He?

Gran: (Giggles) I didn't like to say.

Beryl: That'll be the sun. They get a lot of sun in the Holy Land.

Gladys: I mean, you think its only a tan then. He's not like that underneath?

Gran: Oh Gladys!

Gladys: Oh I'm sorry I never meant. (Begins to cry) It's's just ....We it's all been so trying inconvenient. And Bert'll be in from work and his tea's not even on yet and you never know what he'll say if he's in one of his moods and you know he doesn't like people in the house and....(Sobs).

Gran: Oh Jesus won't stay that long. Surely He knows better than that.

Gladys: Oh, mother. (Sobs).

Beryl: Well they do have different habits from us. They have their dinner in the evening and call it supper--the Last Supper.

Gran: Well He'd never outstay His welcome. (Pause).

Gladys: What am I going to do?

Beryl: You can't just leave Him in there, Gladys. You've got to do something.

Gladys: I feel so upset, so worthless.

Gran: But you're not, Gladys, you're a very worthy person.

Beryl: Yes you are, dear. It's just that you've got to do something.

Gladys: I think I've got a migraine coming on.

Gran: Here you take one of your pills and go and lie down.

Gladys: Thank you, Gran, but I'll just try and stick it out. (Pause) After all we're privileged aren't we? Touched by the hand of God as it where.

Beryl: Well He did come straight here, didn't He? Sought you out.

Gran: I bet Mrs Dowser over the road it as mad as a hatter. Always thought they were better than us, painting their front door blue.

Beryl: Oh, I'd like to see her face. I wonder if she saw?

Gran: She's always behind the curtains that one.

Beryl: She must have seen...the way He glowed. (Pause)

Gladys: Mother? Do you think....?

Gran: Yes dear?

Gladys: Well I don't like to say.

Beryl: Go on, Gladys.

Gladys: Do you think? Do you think we could ask Him to give us a little blessing.

Gran: On the house you mean?

Gladys: Yes. Well not exactly. On the three of us. Bless us.

Beryl: Oh, what a lovely idea. Just wait till I go to church next Sunday and tell the vicar.

Gladys: I just thought....what d'you think He'd say? Would He be angry?

Beryl: We could have a little service in the front room.

Gladys: That'd be so lovely. Just the three of us and Jesus.

Beryl: We could go into the front room and kneel and then He'll say a few words.

Gladys: It's a pity father wasn't alive. He could have been with us.

Gran: You know I'd die happy after that.

Gladys: Oh you won't die for years yet, Mother, don't talk silly.

Beryl: Well, will you ask Him, Gladys?

Gladys: But I don't want to impose.

Beryl: But it is your front room He's in.

Gran: And in His bare feet as well.

Gladys: And we could ask Him to write in our Bible.

Gran: An autograph you mean, dear?

Beryl: Or He could put a quotation in, some nice words.

Gran: Yes, you ask Him, Gladys.

Gladys: Let's just have our tea first, then I'll ask Him.

Beryl: It would have been so nice. (Pause)

Gladys: It must be getting on for four o'clock.

Gran: The days'll be closing in soon. I hate it when the light goes.

Gladys: The spring's the nicest time of year. Spring flowers are the nicest flowers, so delicate.

Gran: The church looks lovely in the spring. I've always loved Easter Day much more than Christmas.

Beryl: Christmas is for children.

Gladys: Yes.

Gran: And the little spring lambs. It's a time of hope.

Beryl: And just to think, He's in your front room. It's like a miracle.

Gladys: Do you think we could all say a little prayer together. Just ourselves, in here.

Gran: Yes, why don't we?

Beryl: But not on our knees, not on a kitchen floor.

Gladys: We can sit in our chairs, He'll understand.

Gran: Shall we say Our Father?

Gladys: Gentle Jesus, Meek and Mild. That's what I used to say as a child, every night after you tucked me up mother. (Sound of a door closing.)

Beryl: What was that?

Gladys: It's the front door.

Gran: Oh that's never Bert come in is it? (Gladys exits, comes in a moment later.)

Gladys: He's gone?

Gran: Gone? Just like that?

Beryl: And He never said a word to us, not one word. Just came in, took off His sandals and sat down.

Gran: You think at least He could have blessed us.

Beryl: What are we going to do now?

Gladys: Maybe it's better this way. After all we haven't put Him under any obligation, have we?

Beryl: Well that's true enough.

Gladys: And we can visit Him in church every Sunday.

Beryl: Spiritually.

Gladys: Sometimes I think that the spiritual plane is more satisfying than the physical.

Beryl: Than the body..... yes.

Gran: We'd better go in a tidy up after Him.

Gladys: I'll get the vacuum cleaner out.

Gran: In case there's any mud, yes.

Gladys: And there's no need for Bert to know when he comes home, is there?

Beryl: Well, I think that passed off very satisfactorily, don't you?

Gladys: But you wouldn't want that sort of thing to happen everyday would you?

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