Each week, we pick a short fiction piece from our Fairlight Shorts archives to feature as our story of the week. This week, we’ve chosen a story about loneliness by Lilly Driscoll.
Lilly Driscoll is an actor, writer and poet from London. Recent theatre credits include Tapestry at MK Gallery, and Dennis Kelly’s Our Teacher’s a Troll by Ruined Theatre.
Lilly started writing at a young age, and at the age of thirteen she was the runner up in a poetry competition and her poem was published in an anthology. Her first play, Dirty Promises, was produced in 2014, and ran for a month at The Hope Theatre in 2014, and was nominated for an Off West End Award. Her second play, Only You, was a one-woman show which she performed at The Theatre 503. Lilly has had poems published in anthologies and zines including Rising and Artists Responding To, and her poems have also featured on BBC Radio London. Her poetry zine This skin: and other homes we live in was released online in 2020.
Lilly has just started her own company, DE-MYS-TIFY, which aims to support actors from a low socio-economic background, with acting classes and an industry showcase.
‘The Clock Tower’ follows a woman contemplating the disappearance of a loved one.
I woke up that morning, knowing she had gone. Left in the middle of the night.
She didn’t sleep well, so it never bothered me when she awoke. She would usually just get herself up, grab a book and go into the living room and curl up on the sofa. I never sensed it was anything to do with me. It couldn’t have been.
We lived in the rough part of Islington; yet people would still say ‘ooh, posh.’ We lived in my council flat that I’d managed to get when I was nineteen. Wouldn’t get that now, probably. I was lucky, in some ways.
My flat overlooked a tall clock tower. Sometimes you’d see tiny-looking men up there, fixing and mending the clock. Yet, the time always seemed to stay wrong.
The morning was cold, that morning she’d gone. Maybe she just went out to get some milk. Maybe she needed to walk for a bit, to escape the flat that sometimes seemed like it was shrinking around us.
I was talking to myself out loud. Asking what time it was when she stirred. Should I check the cupboards? Is her drawer of socks still full? Had she left me a note?
I checked the cupboards and saw her coat, hanging there. The one she was wearing when we first met. It was dark green, with black buttons. A man’s coat.
Suddenly I get an image of her, standing there, wearing it. She looks great in that coat. People would always comment on it.
Nothing seemed to be missing. But her.