Hearts in the right place

A response to the heart of the matter: Nola Farman and Anna Gibbs

The telephone rings. She watches it ring; playing with the idea of not answering it. Pretending she is out, when she is in. But her heart's not in it. She wants to know who is on the other end. Who is calling to speak to her.

From outside the room, people watch her inside the room. On a little, tiny television screen. Blurred in black and white. Watching the telephone.

Inside the room she would like to let the telephone ring. Ring on and on. Unanswered. But the telephone insists. Insists on an answer. As if it knows she's in. She wishes from the bottom of her heart that she could defy the telephone beside the comfy chair. But she can't. She knows she will have to answer the red telephone.

She knows that outside the room people are watching her. Watching her inside the exhibition. From not quite outside the exhibition. The people who watch her on the television screen are not quite outside the exhibition, although they probably think they are. Outside. Looking inside. On the other side of the closed door; unable to see inside the room. Unable to see her, except on the television screen.

She wonders why she has a telephone. People had told her she had to have one. A lifeline to the outside world. The telephone rings on. She is faint-hearted when it comes to resisting the telephone. But while she waits to pick up the receiver and cradle it in her neck, she enjoys that peculiar mixture of fear and delight that the ringing telephone always provokes.

Across from her, the big, red heart beats on the armchair. The armchair is all heart. The telephone, like the big heart, is also red. At last, she picks up the telephone ... her heart stands still...

"You 've broken my heart. Do you know that? Well, do you? I gave you my heart and you ..."

The people outside watch her. Watch her inside the room. On the telephone. Listening without speaking. They watch her on the tiny television screen.

"Of course, unlike you, I wear my heart on my sleeve, so it's easy for people like you ..."

She listens to the voice on the telephone. She hates conversations that begin with "people like you ... " The voice on the telephone talks on without listening to her. A voice she knows, but has never heard before.

" ... and I know that deep down in your heart of hearts, you know that I'm right, that what I'm saying is the way it really was. And after thinking about it for a while, I've had a change of heart ... "

In the armchair the big, red heart lights up and goes off, lights up and goes off. On and on and on ... The people outside can 't see the big, red heart inside. They can only see her. On the telephone. Sitting in a comfy chair holding the telephone receiver to her ear. And the voice on the telephone continues. Speaking without hearing. At once seductive and menacing.

The voice on the telephone comes from outside. That much she knows. No one else is inside the room with her. Everyone else at the exhibition is outside the room. And some of them are watching her.

"I have tried to find it in my heart to forgive you, but I can't. So that's how it will be from now on. All right? So eat your heart out!"

To the people outside, the room appears silent. They can't hear the voice at the end of the telephone line. Only she hears it. Inside the room. From outside she appears in a silent world. Just her, the big, red, beating heart and the small, red, aggressive telephone.

She would like to hang up, but can't. She is trying not to take to heart the accusing words of the voice on the telephone. Outside the closed room people wait to get inside. Some of them wander off to look at the rest of the exhibition. But some stay amongst the empty boxes out side the closed room. Waiting and looking. Looking at the television image of her inside the room. Just her, the all-heart armchair and the telephone. And she is on the telephone. Listening without speaking to a voice she knows, but has never heard before.