Ann and Gwyneth 1

Ann is Ann Boole, 1695 midwife. American. A witch? Gwyneth as in Paltrow. Gwyneth is hugely pregnant, surrounded by linen. She paces. She breathes. The light is soft. Gentle music plays. Gwyneth grits her teeth. She dabs her forehead with a cloth. Sweat. Dab.

ANN: You’re doing well, sweet.

GWYNETH: You’re not my Doula.

ANN: I’m here to help you bring her into the world. That’s what I’m here to do.

GWYNETH: I don’t know the sex.

ANN: Oh no? Not a girl?

GWYNETH: Maybe a girl.

ANN: She’ll tell you what she is soon enough.

Gwyneth grits her teeth against a contraction. Deep breath through the nose. It passes.

GWYNETH: My doula is supposed to be here.

ANN: You can scream if you want. Don’t have to hold tight like that on my account.

GWYNETH: I don’t need to scream.

Ann wets a cloth with warm water from a bowl and dabs Gwyneth’s forehead. Gwyneth closes her eyes.

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